A new project run by Orkney Islands Council aimed at bringing empty homes in the county back into use has won a national award for use of media, only four months after being set up.
The project was awarded ‘Best Use of Media’ at the Howdens Scottish Empty Homes Champions of the Year 2017 awards. The awards are organised by the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) which is hosted by charity Shelter Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government.
Orkney Islands Council’s project was short-listed in the Best use of Media Category due to enthusiastic coverage by both local and national broadcasters.
Chair of the Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Committee, Rob Crichton, said: “We only recruited an Empty Homes Development Officer in June.
“We’re delighted with the level of engagement we’ve had with the project already, both in the media and with the local community.
“It’s a great start and I think it reflects a huge interest regeneration in our communities.
“Clearly as a small island community land availability is a huge challenge for us, so tackling empty homes and encouraging work to bring them back into use is a priority for us.
“We’ll be working hard to maintain the current impetus and interest right through the initial two year project.”
Shaheena Din, SEHP national manager, said: “Orkney really has hit the ground running with their empty homes project thanks in no small part to the publicity they’ve been able to generate with the support of the local media.
“The determination and positivity that Orkney is showing gives us every confidence that they will soon have success stories to report as empty properties become homes again.”
It’s estimated some of Orkney’s islands have the highest proportion of empty dwellings in the country.
The Council’s Empty Homes project offers advice to home owners with a property that’s not being lived in on bringing that home back into use. This includes signposting to the various incentives, such as VAT discounts on building materials, that are available. For more information, contact the Council’s Empty Homes Development Officer, Rachael Bowes by phone on 01856873535 or by email.