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'Rising Star' Award 2018 - Winner

A newly created award for the 2018 Conference, The Rising Star Award was sponsored by Orbis Protect (www.orbisprotect.com)who specialise in the protection and management of empty property and buildings. 

This year’s winner of the Rising Star Award was Tom Davies of Thant District Council.

The aim of this award was to focus on the successes of practitioners who had made significant contributions in their roles, albeit in a short period of time. Tom, whose willingness to learn and impressive early experience in pursuing enforcement action, not only impressed the judging panel, but showed that the correct use of enforcement powers can bear fruit, at any stage of your empty homes career.

Tom’s enthusiasm and ability to transfer skills from his previous role as an estate agent has proved fruitful in the role of empty homes practitioner, and this was thoroughly demonstrated through the award nomination submission.

‘Meeting the Challenge’ Award 2018 - winner

We are very grateful indeed to Carson Millican, trading as Empty Property Solutions, for his continuing support of the Empty Homes Awards. This year, he sponsored the newly configured ‘Meeting the Challenge’ Award, which aims to emphasise the case-work aspect of what practitioners do by recognising a particularly challenging case.

What, in turn, is challenging  for the judging panel is that the whole empty homes practitioner universe is awash with difficult cases and singling out a winner can only leave other worthy contenders disappointed.

So it needs to be emphasised that the recognition ultimately awarded by the Panel was not based on identifying the most challenging case, nor was it a matter of deciding what was the oustdandingly ‘best’ response to a challenging case: it was about rewarding the type of response that the Panel most wanted to highlight, illuminating a particular aspect of the varied approaches employed by practitioners, all of which have their place.

Empty Homes Innovation Award 2018

Sponsorship of this year’s Innovation Award was provided by E.ON Empty Home Solutions, along with the sponsorship of the Awards Ceremony. Perhaps it’s a shame that this barred them from nominating themselves for the Award because, as innovation goes, a giant energy company involving itself in the gritty work of bringing empty homes back into use is certainly up there with the most original initiatives we’ve seen.

The outcomes of the partnerships being forged between the E.ON empty homes team and local authorities will be awaited with great interest. But we can already say for certain that never previously have practitioners enjoyed the support of an enterprise on the scale of E.ON; and for that reason alone we can with reasonable justification look forward to new possibilities emerging from the initiative. 

Empty Homes Partnership Award - #2

Following on from Friday’s news item, here is the other winning submission for the 2018 Partnership Award. It comes from Bolsover District Council and Action Housing.

Housing Associations have become rather thin on the ground for local authorities looking for partners, so it is particularly valuable to see what can be achieved by a committed association that is able to unlock Homes England funding.  In some long-ago era ,this partnership might have been described as run-of-the-mill: today it can only be regarded as exemplary and perhaps not surprisingly has involved, in Action Housing, an association with a strong roots in community engagement and a commitment to delivering outcomes for vulnerable people, recalling a time when there was a ‘housing association movement’.

Empty Homes Partnership Award - #1

This Award was relaunched in 2018 with the very welcome support of Cromwood Social, represented by Abdus Saleh at October's Empty Homes Conference. 

With Abdus’s support Cromwood had previously sponsored other awards, but the partnership award they sponsored this year was a natural fit for them – as those authorities that have worked with Cromwood have always be happy to testify. (It’s worth noting here that the Network only accepts sponsorship from organisations that we believe can make a genuine contribution to the work practitioners do).

In previous years,  there have been specific categories for different types of partnership – between local authorities and housing associations, between local authorities and community groups – but this year we left the type of partnership open. The fact that all the submissions featured local authorities is a good reminder about the central role that councils play in bringing empty homes back into use. 

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Last chance for Expressions of Interest for delivery of EHN support role

We have received an informal Expression of Interest from an individual about taking on the entire support role for EHN (as undertaken by David Gibbens over the last few years). We believe this is likely to produce a deliverable offer.

If anyone else is interested, in the first instance you should register an informal Expression of Interest by 28th December by contacting David Gibbens – message 07528 312932 with your contact details or email him at secretary@ehnetwork.org.uk.