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Howdens Scottish Champion of the Year Awards 2017 Finalists

This year we received a record number of nominations across the 5 categories and we are now pleased to announce our finalists. Of course, the winners will be kept secret until our Annual Scottish Empty Homes Conference on the 15th November 2017, which will be in The Lighthouse, in Glasgow.

Outstanding Project

Former St Stephen’s School – Blairgowrie

Former St Stephen's School - Blairgowrie

St. Stephen’s RC Primary School in Blairgowrie had lain empty since 2009, when the school was moved to another site in the Perthshire town.  Carling Property Group committed to transforming the old school house, which had Category B listed status, into eight affordable housing apartments

Port Ellen Police Station – Argyll & Bute Council

Port Ellen Police Station

This is an excellent example of partnership working driven by local people to deliver a development which will go some way to addressing a major problem in Argyll – affordable housing for young people, whilst saving a feature building in Port Ellen.

Achiltibuie Schoolhouse -  Coigach Community Development Company & The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust (Collaborative Project)

Achiltibuie Schoolhouse

An empty schoolhouse in Achiltibuie has been transformed into two affordable dwellings thanks to an innovative funding package secured by The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust and the Coigach Community Development Company (CCDC) with support from The Scottish Government, The Nationwide Foundation and The Highland Council

An example of co-operative and innovative working driven by the community and utilising the experience of The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) to develop a workable model with the co-operation of key stakeholders and funders to deliver affordable housing that meets local needs by utilising a vacant empty property.  The project has saved an empty home and boosted the community confidence in housing.

Outstanding Service

Perth & Kinross Council Lets

PKC Lets is a social lettings agency run by Perth & Kinross Council with the aim of providing good quality affordable private rented housing to local people.  The benefit of PKC Lets is that owners of empty properties can be supported not only to refurbish their property but to also negotiate all the legal requirements of becoming a landlord, many for the first time, as well as being supported to re-let their property. In turn this increases the supply of affordable accommodation in the area, with the majority of properties being made available to all applicants, and welcoming those in receipt of benefits.

Fife Council

The 2 Empty Homes Officers (EHO’s) in Fife work part-time and have been in post since July 2014. In that time, they have worked tirelessly to promote the empty homes work that they do in Fife and continue to develop the options available to owners to increase awareness of their role in being able to assist empty home owners.

Angus & Dundee Shared Service

The Angus Council and Dundee City Council Shared Service Empty Homes Project was first introduced in December 2015. With the general aim of this project being to increase the available property stock within the Private Sector (including the Private Rented Sector) by encouraging owners of long-term unoccupied properties to bring these back into residential use. The introduction of this project has helped to substantially strengthen support and assistance available to empty home owners, which in turn has led to impressive results being achieved.

Outstanding Individual

Catriona Arbuckle

Catriona Arbuckle

Catriona has worked within the local authority for 23 years and throughout these years she has had various posts throughout services. In July 2015, Catriona was successful in gaining a fulltime Empty Homes Officer post within North Lanarkshire Council. The main part of her role is to offer empty home owners with information, advice and assistance on a wide range of issues. Catriona enjoys the daily challenges the post brings and the interaction she has with empty home owners.

Sean Maxwell

Sean Maxwell

Sean Maxwell is a shared service Empty Homes Officer working between both Angus Council and Dundee City Council. Sean took post in December 2015, after completing an MSc in Spatial Planning with Sustainable Urban Design from the University of Dundee. Since his introduction Sean has worked tirelessly to address and expose the issues of empty homes. Sean has introduced an innovative and approachable style of empty homes work that has led to impressive results being achieved within both Local Authorities.

Lesley Cockburn

Lesley Cockburn

Lesley joined South Ayrshire Council’s Housing Policy and Strategy Team in February 2016, bringing with her ten years of experience in front facing roles such as Housing Officer and Antisocial Behaviour Officer. In her role as Empty Homes Officer, Lesley has been required to utilise a wide range of skills in working with owners of empty properties.  Lesley demonstrates patience and persistence in engaging owners and has had considerable success in bringing empty homes back into use thanks to her respectful, positive and supportive approach to engagement.

Best Use of the Media

Angus Council

Angus Council constantly seeks out every opportunity to maximise the publicity of this scheme, and thereby raise the profile not only of their own work, but also that of all fellow empty home practitioners across Scotland. The publicity achieved from a media drive in January 2017 has contributed significantly to the continued progress and success of empty homes work within Angus and the smooth transition from the previous Scottish Government funded Empty Homes Loan Fund, to the new and innovative Angus Council EHLF.

Orkney Islands

The Orkney Islands Council’s Empty Homes Project is relatively new. Having employed an Empty Homes Development Officer in June 2017, first contact was made with empty home owners in August. Public engagement with the Project has been high representing the enthusiasm for regeneration across the isles.

North Lanarkshire Council

North Lanarkshire Council ran a successful media campaign highlighting their Empty Homes Purchase Scheme as well as the advice and assistance offered to empty home owners. This campaign showcased the success of an empty property being brought back into use as a home for a young family.

Best Before and After Pictures

  • Perth & Kinross Council
  • North Lanarkshire Council
  • Argyll & Bute Council

We hope to share all our best before and after pictures at our upcoming conference on the 15 November, The Lighthouse, Glasgow.

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