Fife Council scoops two national awards

Pictures which show how a badly run-down house full of junk was transformed into a model home have won an award for a worker from Fife Council.

A Fife councillor was also given a special mention at this year’s Howden’s Scottish Empty Homes Champion of the Year Awards at a ceremony in Edinburgh.

The photographs of the property in Methil, taken by empty homes officer Joanne Saurin, show how it changed from a junk-filled eyesore with rusty vehicles in the overgrown garden to a house in pristine condition. Her pictures won the best before and after photograph accolade.

Meanwhile Fiona Grant, councillor for Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch was given a special mention award. The judging panel said councillor Grant’s campaigning on the issue of empty homes in Fife had contributed to the local council employing two part-time empty homes officers and was a great example of the role elected members can play in keeping an issue with no statutory requirement for councils high on the agenda.

The awards are held every year and celebrate efforts to bring Scotland’s 34,000 empty homes back into use. The event is organised by the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) which is funded by the Scottish Government and run by housing charity Shelter Scotland.

Kristen Hubert, manager of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “I’d like to congratulate Joanne Saurin and councillor Fiona Grant on their awards.

“Karen’s photographs show the dramatic difference that can be made not just to a house but to a street when a property that has been neglected gets the attention it needs to turn it back into a home. And it’s great that the judging panel were motivated to recognise the part councillor Grant has played in getting empty homes brought back into use in Fife.”