This was the second year we had run this Award category, thanks to sponsorship from Homesmatch. As Homesmatch specialise in transforming properties – not just empty ones but occupied ones too – there was a natural fit with their business model. Contributing to the Conference Brochure, Cath Whelan, MD of Homesmatch, wrote
“We at Homesmatch offer innovative, approaches to matching property buyers and sellers. Importantly for empty homes owners, not only can we help them find purchasers, but we can also source finance to help them upgrade their homes to make them more readily saleable or lettable. So we are really pleased to get the opportunity to demonstrate our support for the people that are working day in, day out to bring empties back into use”.
Once again this was a hotly contested award, with more submissions received than in any other category. And once again, the subjective aspect involved in judging photographs made picking a winner particularly hard.
It must be said too – and we will try and really emphasise this next year when we advertise the assessment criteria – that the focus is supposed to be on the photo not the project. We want the photo to tell the story and to tell it clearly, to inspire immediate enthusiasm for what has been achieved. We want strong, well-composed, well-lit images from similar angles, both before and after. An important aspect here is that we do want the beginning and end of the story. ‘Middles’ would be an optional extra. That is a roundabout way of saying that some of the submissions showed projects that were too clearly still ongoing, which diminished the impact compared with true ‘before and after’ sets.
When the fisticuffs etc on the judging panel had died away, the winning pictures were agreed to be those submitted by North East Lincolnshire.
Charlie Stewart of Homesmatch presented the award certificate to Lisa Coutts at the Empty Homes Conference in Birmingham.
In this non-binary age, it is perhaps necessary to clarify that to the best of our knowledge Lisa does not aspire to be known as ‘Paul Wilmot‘ on alternate Thursdays, as might appear to be the case from the photo above: it’s just that when we produced the original certificate we were working with the only name available to us (Paul having sent us the submission).