Lesley with Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP
South Ayrshire Council has won a prestigious national award for its efforts to bring empty homes back into use.
The Council has taken the Outstanding Project title at the Howdens Scottish Empty Homes Champions of the Year Awards, for an initiative to buy-back ex-local authority housing in areas of high demand.
Empty Homes officer Lesley Cockburn who led the project picked up the certificate at an awards ceremony which took place alongside the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) annual conference earlier this week in Stirling.
Councillor Philip Saxton, Housing and Community Wellbeing Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "I am delighted for the team, this award is very well deserved and highlights our commitment to provide quality social housing which suits the needs of our tenants. We will continue to work with our partners to identify and secure existing housing stock to meet demand."
Lesley Cockburn, said: "It's a great privilege to accept this award. Through joint-working we not only breathe life back into empty properties, we increase affordable housing in the area and provide secure tenancies for households on our waiting list. It is very satisfying to achieve recognition for this project and I hope to continue with it into the future.
Shaheena Din, National Manager of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: "I'd like to congratulate South Ayrshire Council and Lesley on receiving their award. Their acquisitions project has shown how the targeted buy-back of ex-local authority stock can increase the supply of much needed social homes in areas of high demand. We are sure this is work which other local authorities will learn from."
The SEHP was set up in 2010 to encourage and support councils to use the most effective methods of bringing empty homes back into use. Over the past eight years members of the SEHP's network of empty homes specialists have brought more than 3,200 properties back into use. The Partnership is funded by the Scottish Government and hosted by Shelter Scotland.