A celebration of renovation

A tenement in Campbeltown

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Home projects in Kintyre are among the finalists in a national competition that highlights the work done to reduce the number of privately-owned empty homes in Scotland.

The Howdens Scottish Empty Homes Champions of the Year Awards are held annually to publicise the work done by people battling to bring the country’s 39,000 empty homes back to life, thus increasing Scotland’s housing supply.

A complex project to save a historic tenement in Campbeltown has been short-listed in the best collaborative project category.

Another  property in Campbeltown, adapted for use by a family with a child with special needs, has been shortlisted for oldest long-term empty property.

And the transformation of a semi-detached house in Southend, which was once inaccessible due to the overgrown garden, is in the running for best before and after photographs.

Shaheena Din, national manager of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership which organises the awards, said: ‘Scotland is beginning to turn a corner on empty homes with more than a thousand empty properties brought back into use in a single year in 2018-2019; the first time that milestone had been passed since the partnership was set up in 2010.

‘These awards are a chance to celebrate all the hard work of people like empty homes officers, housing associations and community groups who realise that these properties are a massive asset in the face of our housing emergency. I want to wish all our finalists the best of luck.’

Phil Hanson, of Howdens Joinery, which is sponsoring the awards for a fourth year, offered the company’s congratulations to this year’s finalists.

He said: ‘Howdens is delighted to be sponsoring the awards to help bring well-deserved attention to the determined people who are working tirelessly across the country to make these empty buildings homes once again.

‘With entries from Ayrshire to Orkney we have seen a huge variety of exciting projects which are solving problems for owners and communities but most importantly providing homes for people to live in.’

The Howdens Scottish Empty Homes Champions of the Year Awards 2019 will be held alongside the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership annual conference at Riddle’s Court in Edinburgh’s Old Town on November 20.

As well as the three finalists from Argyll and Bute, shortlisted entries include the conversion of derelict former elderly care unit into two family homes on the Western Isles, and a former schoolhouse in Stirlingshire which had been empty since 1999.

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership is funded by the Scottish Government and run by Shelter Scotland.