Lynne Leach's blog

Life in the Lakes - the 'new' normal!

March/April 2020

I’m sitting here at my laptop in our spare room as my husband and myself are currently ‘self-isolating’ for the 14 days and like the majority of you, I’m working from home.

But after a few days of trying to get settled on what best to do, work-wise, I have come up with a few positives to motivate me.

Life in the Lakes - Nov - December 2019

I am finally emerging from the major transformation our council has been going (and is still going) through. I feel like a butterfly coming out of its chrysalis! Although our new roles don’t begin till January 2020, I understand that I will be continuing empty homes work but under the job title of Case Management instead of Empty Homes Officer. Phew!

Life in the Lakes - a review of our EHN conference

It’s already Friday but I’m still thinking about Wednesday’s first Empty Homes Network conference with Adam Cliff at the helm.  Great programme by the way, Adam. 

As we’ve come to expect over the years with David Gibbens organising, one of the reasons the conference is always so well attended is the programme.  It has to include subjects that empty homes officers are interested in and want to learn more about.  For example new schemes that have been trialled, community work, partnership working, enforcement and updates from Action on Empty Homes.

Life in the Lakes - June/July 2019

Life in the Lakes – June/July 2019

Thanks to everyone who contacted me to let me know your council had increased the council tax Premium. It’ll be very interesting to hear after the first six months to a year what effect (if any) the doubling of the Premium has made to your work.

Personally speaking I like the idea that some other councils are already using, which is aimed at those genuinely struggling financially to complete repairs, by offering an option for a ‘holiday’ from the Premium while repairs are completed.

Life in the Lakes - April - May 2019

Oh dear, I can’t believe the last blog I posted was after last year’s Empty Homes Network conference, where did that time go?!

Our council is currently undergoing a major transformation where all our current roles will no longer exist and we will be invited to apply for generic roles instead. I’m looking at it all a positive way (my usual ‘default’ position) and hoping that I’ll still be able to carry out empty homes work, which I love. I’ve learned so much over the past ten years and am still learning and enjoying new challenges.

Personal Highlights from our EHN conference

So which were your highlights at Thursday’s annual conference?  Of course it’ll depend on which workshops you attended, but what a great choice and which to attend?

These were my personal highlights and ‘awards’.   

Funny moments award – Always goes to Nick P-G.  Especially his ‘crowd-funding’ moments for David Gibbens’ leaving present IN FRONT OF David himself – hilarious!  And his surreal introduction to Brighid Carey from Action on Empty Homes, you couldn’t make it up.

Life in the Lakes - October 2018

National Empty Homes Week is almost upon us once again (15 to 19 October).  It’s helpful that our EHN conference is taking place the same week this year and I’m really looking forward to the varied mix of workshops and speakers. I find I often come away from the conference having learned something new and with another ‘tool’ for my empty homes toolkit. It’s also great to meet up with long-term friends in the empty homes ‘world’ and to meet new ones too.  You can’t beat networking and sharing best practice!

Life in the Lakes - Summer 2018

My question to you is this – how do you carry on with your ‘proactive’ empty homes work without a current list of empty homes?  And my reply is – it’s quite tricky!

So for the past six months I’ve been without a list of empty homes.  This was due to our council tax group having a new system installed followed by time taken for staff training including training on how to run off tailored reports like the ones I get. 

Life in the Lakes - April 2018

It’s been a strange year for me so far.  Half-way through January I managed to get second degree burns to my leg after knocking over a pot of coffee and it’s taken me a while to recover.  I’m being really careful around boiling kettles these days…

However the advantage of being off sick and then working from home meant I have had a lot of time to think about my approach to my empty homes work for 2018.

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