E.ON launches Empty Homes Awards season

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It’s the Empty Homes Awards season, and we are very grateful to energy supplier E.ON for providing the launch-pad this year.  E.ON is sponsoring both the Awards Ceremony at the forthcoming Empty Homes Conference on the 18th October and also this year’s Innovation Award.

E.ON’s sponsorship reflects an exciting new initiative: it is investing in three pilot schemes across the UK and is looking for Local Authorities with an appetite to proactively tackle their empty homes problem in an innovative and effective way.

Andrew Angus, E.ON Housing Solutions Manager, told us:

“We’ve developed a holistic, cooperative, community-focused approach, which provides Local Authorities with a low risk solution to tackling the issue of empty homes within their authority. The scheme focuses on the empty home owner, addressing their needs, wants and the barriers to action they face in bringing a property back in use. Everyone’s circumstances are different and as such we have a broad range of individual solutions available.”

You’ll hear a little more about E.ON’s new initiative at the Conference itself when Angus introduces the Awards, and there will be a more detailed story about it on the website next week.

On this page

Practicalities Awards
Introduction Innovation Award
How to apply 'Meeting the Challenge' Award
Judging Panels Best Partnership Award
When will we hear? Practitioner of the Year Award
On the day of the Conference 'Rising Star' Award
  Best Before-and-After Photo Award

How to apply

The following applies to all the different awards, except where indicated otherwise in the description of the individual award.

  • Submissions should be clear and to the point and a maximum 1200 words per award on no more than 2 A4 pages.
  • You can send us more if you want e.g. pictures, sample forms, process diagrams etc - but in evaluating your submission we will only look at the first 1200 words of the first two pages (which should therefore be self-contained).
  • The deadline for submissions is 2359 on Monday 1st October.
  • Please send your submissions to claire.hope@ehnetwork.org.uk

Submissions are accepted on the understanding that you are giving EHN an indefinite licence to reproduce them in whole or in part, edited as appropriate for an audience of empty homes practitioners (for example, in news stories or in our Practice library).

The Judging Panels

The judging panel for each award will consist of a representative from the organisation sponsoring that award, plus a representative from the award-winning Kent No Use Empty initiative; a representative from the Empty Homes Network will chair the panels and use a casting vote in the event of a tie.

This year’s Empty Homes Awards

Innovation Award

E.ON energy

Given E.ON’s commitment to building innovative partnerships with local authorities, it seems entirely appropriate that E.ON is sponsoring this year’s Innovation Award.

Empty property practitioners excel at providing a range of solutions to the problem of wasted homes. And that sometimes means looking for something new and different.  

We're looking for creative and original approaches, procedures, methods, systems, or schemes that boost or support successful interventions.

(If you want to highlight an individual project or success, please look at the ‘Meeting the Challenge’ Award.)

‘Meeting the Challenge’ Award

Carson Millican, Empty Property Solutions Ltd.This award, retitled from previous years, has been sponsored yet again by Carson Millican. Carson is one of our most experienced practitioners and has worked as the empty homes lead for East London Regeneration Partnership and several individual local authorities. He is currently Director of Empty Property Solutions Ltd. He specialises in working with Local Authorities to develop empty property approaches and strategies that will win New Homes Bonus and tap into available funding.

Empty property practitioners excel at providing a range of solutions to the problem of wasted homes. But undoubtedly some cases are more challenging than others and require the right combination of perseverance, imagination and appropriate tools to be brought into play.

This award is intended to highlight particularly difficult cases that you successfully dealt with. Let us know the challenges you faced and how you met them.

It’s one submission per property/case.

Best Partnership Award

Cromwood SocialWe are very pleased that this year’s award is being sponsored Cromwood Social, which has an impressive track record when it comes to working in partnership with local authorities to tackle empty homes.

Abdus Saleh, who heads Cromwood Social, is well known to many practitioners for his effectiveness in bringing projects to fruition, commented:

'We set up Cromwood Social to bring empty properties back into use for use as social housing. We have partnered with financial intermediaries and created funds that can be used to acquire and/or refurbish empty properties. Our one stop service in London to owners of empty properties includes resolving probate; financing refurbishment; project managing works and management of refurbished property. We expect to expand our operations outside of London.'

This is a variant on previous years, which highlighted particular forms of partnership. This year we are seeking to recognise any partnership between two independent agencies or organisations where the partnership has made a fundamental contribution to bringing empties back into use.

Empty Homes Practitioner of the Year

Kent No Use Empty logoThis is probably the most coveted award of all amongst our members. As a community of practitioners, the Empty Homes Network is all about people, and this is the award which directly recognises the importance of the individual practitioner.

The Practitioner of the Year Award is being sponsored for a second time by Kent No Use Empty. If anyone knows what is involved in being an effective empty homes practitioner then it’s Kent NUE which has already celebrated its tenth anniversary.  

Mark Dance, Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said:

The issue of empty homes is an important one. By addressing the  issue, housing, jobs and longer term investment can be created having a far reaching economic impact.

We are fortunate to have  the No Use Empty partnership which has significantly reduced the number of long term empty properties in Kent. The national conference  provides a wonderful opportunity to share best practice and to celebrate  the good work being done around the country. We are proud to be involved.”

We'd like to know why the nominated person deserves the award. We are interested in innovation, dedication, perseverance ... and/or any other combination of qualities or achievements that you think deserves recognition.

Don't be embarrassed to nominate yourself. Empty Homes Practitioners often work on their own and don't have colleagues that know how good they are!

Special Considerations

NB Nominees for this award must be Full Members of the Empty Homes Network.

'Rising Star' Award

Orbis Protect logoWe are pleased to announce that Orbis Protect is sponsoring a new ‘Rising Star’ Award as part of this year’s Empty Homes Awards. This award is intended to recognise and reward emerging empty homes practitioners who have made significant contributions over a short period of time.

Louis Fordham, Orbis Protect - Business Development Director for the Social Housing Sector, said:

“We are very proud to be sponsoring the Rising Stars Award in this sector. Over my 25 years working with Orbis, who specialise in the protection and management of empty properties, I have worked in many different roles, which for several years included National Training Manager. In this position I had the great opportunity to see many young individuals grow, thrive and contribute back to the protection of empty homes. We are excited to hear all the great contributions.”

We are looking to recognise newcomers who display the same qualities that we seek when giving  the 'Empty Homes Practitioner of the Year' Award, as described above. (Accordingly' we will automatically enter ‘Rising Star’ submissions for the 'Practitioner of the Year' Award in case a newcomer is so brilliant that they outshine the older hands.)

Critera are as for the 'EHP of the Year' Award except that we are restricting eligibility to local authority employees (or employees of companies to which a local authority has outsourced its empty homes work) because we think roles needs to be broadly comparable across submissions.

Best Before-and-After Photo Award

Homesmatch logoThis is the second year that we have run this award category and it is entirely apt that it is being sponsored this year by Homesmatch

The company that has worked effectively with practitioners in local authorities from North West England to Central Scotland, including South Lakeland, Copeland, and – we understand – others such as Preston and Stirling.

MD Cath Whelan notes

“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”.

Special considerations


We want the pictures to be available for reproduction by EHN and it members, which involve special conditions:

  • you must hold the copyright to the pictures
  • you must tell us who has the copyright (i.e.. you personally or your employer) so that we are able to acknowledge copyright in any reproductions
  • you undertake to supply the photos in jpeg format to a suitable resolution after the judging of the submissions is completed

By submitting pictures to us, you warrant that you, as copyright holder, is granting the Empty Homes Network ('EHN') and all fellow members in EHN an indefinite licence to copy and reproduce the pictures in any medium with or without minor adjustments such as cropping or colour adjustments or conversion to grey-scale but without distortion or other effects and provided that your copyright is acknowledged in any such reproduction

If any of this is unclear then please do contact us at events@ehnetwork.org.uk as soon as possible.


Please submit all your pictures embedded in a PDF Documents laid out with two or four photos – one or two before-and-after pairs - per side.

We will then request original photos in jpeg format after the judging is completed.


  • Photos should be in sets, where a ‘set’ is an individual property.  You should supply the street name and place name for each set, but please note this will not be used in any wider distribution.
  • If you have an interior pair, you will need an exterior pair too. But interior shots are not essential.
  • No more than 4 pairs of before-and-after shots per property.

Evaluation criteria

We are looking for pictures that tell a story, that clearly and strikingly illustrate the difference that interventions by empty homes practitioners can make.

We evaluate individual sets, not the entire portfolio you submit.


  • Make sure that, as far as possible, the before and after shots are comparable. This means in particular taking them from the same viewpoint.
  • Avoid having vehicles obstructing significant parts of the building.
  • With interior shots, avoid photos where the transformation is so radical that you can’t recognise the room any more! This can be difficult if you've done a great job!

More Practicalities

When will we hear?

If you have made a submission, we will aim to let you know the results from the Judging Panels by close of business, Wednesday, 3rd October.

Everyone else will hear the results when they are announced at the Conference. If you are a winner, we appreciate it if you keep that confidential until then.

On the Day of the Conference

The Awards Ceremony is held before lunch.

The EHN photographer will take pictures of the presentations to the various winners.  The digital images taken by EHN will be given free of charge to the local authorities and individuals concerned, free of copyright. 

Winners are welcome to ask colleagues to take your photos but we will not be able to hold up proceedings for additional photo opportunities.

With thanks to our main sponsors

Property Guardian Providers Association logo

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