Best Use of Media for Empty Homes Project

Orkney Islands Council’s empty homes initiative has secured top prize as  ‘Best Use of Media’ at the Howdens Scottish Empty Homes Champions of the Year 2017 awards.

The project which saw the appointment of an Empty Homes Officer in June was  awarded the accolade “due to enthusiastic coverage by both local and national broadcasters.”

Covered by The Orkney News you can read about the initiative on our pages.

 Orkney’s Empty Homes Officer Sets to Work

The Work Begins: Rescuing Orkney’s Empty Homes

Shaheena Din, SEHP national manager, said:

“Orkney really has hit the ground running with their empty homes project thanks in no small part to the publicity they’ve been able to generate with the support of the local media.

“The determination and positivity that Orkney is showing gives us every confidence that they will soon have success stories to report as empty properties become homes again.”

empty homes

photo courtesy of Gavin Leask

 Rob Crichton,Chair of the Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Committee, said:

“We’re delighted with the level of engagement we’ve had with the project already, both in the media and with the local community.

“It’s a great start and I think it reflects a huge interest regeneration in our communities.

“Clearly as a small island community land availability is a huge challenge for us, so tackling empty homes and encouraging work to bring them back into use is a priority for us.”

A recent report highlighted that Orkney has the highest percentage of dwellings in Scotland that are vacant at 6.9% and the third highest percentage of dwellings that are second homes at 3.5%.

In 2006 there were 802 homes unoccupied (433 empty and 369 second homes) and in 2016 this had risen to 1151 (759 empty and 392 second homes).

The new Council scheme is primarily targeting the 759 empty properties on the island to try and bring them back into productive use.

Rachael Bowes, Empty Homes Officer, can also help empty home owners who register to access discounts for renovating their properties, including VAT discounts on restoration works and discounts on materials from recognised retailers.

Further details on the matchmaking scheme is available at

You can contact Rachael Bowes at the Council on 01856873535

or email

empty homes

photo courtesy of Gavin Leask


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