Life in the Lakes - New Year musings!

January 2017

Happy New Year to you all!

I wonder what new challenges will face us this coming year? 

At the start of a new year I like to think about what I could improve on in my job - what could I do differently?  Is there a different approach I could try with our empty home owners, or target a specific area or type of property maybe…?

Scottish Empty Homes Conference 2016

Although it took place a few days ago, the Scottish Empty Homes Conference was very much in the same spirit as Empty Homes Week: a call to action and a celebration of what is being achieved.


This was the first time I had attended the event and it was well worth the cross-country trek from Exeter to Edinburgh - not least, I admit, because Edinburgh is a city where I once lived and of which I have many happy memories. It was lovely to wander the sunny streets and be reminded of why it earned the title "the Athens of the North".

Here's an idea for empty homes week 28 Nov to 2 December

I always thought that having national empty homes week at the end of November/start of December was never a good time for me to be contacting empty home owners.  My usual tack is to write to my empty home owners in January, once Christmas and celebrations are over.  But I've done a complete about-turn on this!

At the October meeting of our regional Cumbria Empty Property Group (which consists of three carrying out full-time empty homes work, and the other three where empty homes is a small part of their jobs), we had a 'Eureka' moment!

Life in the Lakes - Homesmatch Aug/September update

We’re moving forward with the empty home owners who contacted Homesmatch to help bring their empty home back into use. 

I thought I’d focus on one of the properties which had been empty for a long time and was looking very sorry for itself.  The owner was at his wits end.  He’d unsuccessfully tried to sell it by auction and really didn’t know what to do next.  The repairs were going to be expensive, and there was nothing else I could do to help him – except to ‘signpost’ the Homesmatch service. 

Life in the Lakes - Homesmatch reaches the parts other empty homes officers can't always reach!

Life in the Lakes – Homesmatch reaches the parts other empty homes officers can’t always reach!

April 2016

I’ve just come into work – it’s Wednesday morning - and the first email I read was from Charlie Stewart at Homesmatch. A week or so ago, I passed on details for Homesmatch to an owner who is tearing his hair out about his empty property. It’s not for sale yet because there are some other issues which need to be sorted out first. I hadn’t been able to do much for the owner which was very frustrating.

Life in the Lakes - homesmatch

March 2016

How many times have you suggested to owners of empty homes, “why don’t you sell it?” with the reply “I don’t want to sell it till I’ve done it up – but I don’t have the money to do that”! And so the property remains empty…..

Well I’ve discovered a possible new solution (new to me, anyway!) Recently, I met Charlie Stewart from Homesmatch and it sounds like they could be offering a new choice for those owners.


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