‘Ground-breaking’ new partnership to target empty homes for remote essential worker housing
An innovative new partnership has been launched that will see empty homes in Argyll and Bute being brought back into use to help to tackle the shortage of affordable housing for health and social care workers across the region.
The two-year project is being funded by the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) and Argyll and Bute Health & Social Care Partnership (A&B HSCP), and administered by Argyll & Bute Council.
The project, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, will see the appointment of a new Empty Homes Project Officer who will work with partners and private empty homes owners in areas where A&B HSCP has found that a shortage of suitable local accommodation has impacted on their recruitment service capacity and ability to recruit new team members.
The officer will work A&B HSCP to establish local housing needs including type, size and locations of accommodation needed. They will then look to identify suitable ’empty home matches’ and liaise with owners and registered social landlords with the aim of bringing homes back into use for
A&B HSCP key and essential workers through tenancy agreements.
Shaheena Din, National Project Manager, Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said:
“We are truly excited to be launching a ground-breaking project that will both tackle the issue of empty homes in Argyll and Bute, and provide much-needed housing for remote essential workers.
“Innovation and partnership must be at the heart of addressing Scotland’s housing challenges and we are delighted to have come together as a partnership with common goals.
“Scotland’s Housing Minister Paul McLennan recently emphasised that good quality affordable housing is essential to attract and retain people in rural communities, particularly in areas where key workers are needed, and we hope this partnership will prove to be one example of how this can be achieved.”
The project aims to bring 20 properties into use under private tenancy agreements over a two year period, helping to address the recruitment and retention issues experienced across all Health and Social Care disciplines noted in the Argyll and Bute Joint Strategic Plan 2022-25.
James Gow, Head of Finance, Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership said:
“Argyll & Bute HSCP is delighted to be working in partnership with the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership and Argyll and Bute Council to bring empty homes back into use.
“The availability of suitable housing is often perceived to be a barrier to people relocating to enjoy the benefits of living and working in Argyll & Bute. This project will help us recruit the staff we need to continue to provide essential health and social care services.”
The Empty Homes Project Officer will sit within the Argyll and Bute Council Housing Services team, which will offer practical support and financial assistance to bring properties back into use.
Councillor Robin Currie, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council said:
“Argyll and Bute’s economic success is built on a growing population. We are committed to finding local housing solutions to help grow our population and Argyll and Bute’s economy.
“Working in partnership is key to this success and we are delighted to be working with our partners to identify housing solutions that will ultimately benefit public services.”
Notes for Editors:
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All images are available to download here: https://we.tl/t-1TnkBMXbgg
- Before and after photographs of formerly empty property in Argyll & Bute that were brought back into use by the council:
- Argyll & Bute before and after
- Argyll & Bute, Ardbeg-3-Kitchen-before-Ardbeg
- Argyll & Bute, Ardbeg-4-Kitchen-after-Ardbeg
- Before and after photographs of a cottage in Cullipool, Argyll & Bute, that had been empty for many years and was brought back into use by a private owner
- Cullipool Argyll & Bute-1-Front-before-Cullipool
- Cullipool Argyll & Bute-2-Front-after-Cullipool
- House 1-01
About the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership
The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership is funded by the Scottish Government and hosted by Shelter Scotland. We exist to encourage and support work to bring Scotland’s approximately 42,000 privately-owned long-term empty homes back into use. At a time of a housing emergency, we know that every home matters.
The partnership was formed in 2010, following the recommendations of the Scottish Government review of the private rented sector. Our aim is to bring as many privately-owned empty homes back into use as possible by meeting our five objectives:
- Encourage every council in Scotland to have a dedicated Empty Homes Officer
- Support the national network of Empty Homes Officers
- Encourage registered social landlords, community groups and other private bodies to engage in empty homes work.
- Encourage councils to mainstream empty homes work.
- Deliver the Scottish Empty Homes Advice Service
Since 2010, the Scottish Empty Homes Network and the network of council-employed Empty Homes Officers across the country have helped to bring more than 8000 empty homes back into use.
For more information about the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership please visit https://emptyhomespartnership.scot/
About Argyll and Bute Council
Argyll and Bute Council is the local authority for one of the largest geographical areas in Scotland, covering 8,000 square kilometres of coastal and mountain landscapes. With a population of around 88,000 people, the Council is responsible for providing a wide range of services, including education, social care, housing, waste management, and economic development.
As an elected body, Argyll and Bute Council’s mission is to work in partnership with communities and stakeholders to deliver high-quality services that support local people and businesses. The Council is committed to building a sustainable and prosperous future for the region, while preserving and promoting its unique cultural and natural heritage.
For more information about Argyll and Bute Council and its services please visit, https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/
About Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership
Argyll and Bute HSCP is a partnership between Argyll and Bute Council and NHS Highland that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Argyll and Bute. Their vision is to provide high-quality, person-centred care that supports individuals to live independently and with dignity in their homes and communities.
Through their integrated approach, they bring together health, social care, and other key partners to deliver a range of services and support that meets the needs of local people. The services include community health and social care, mental health and addictions, children and families, and primary care.
They are committed to working closely with communities to develop innovative solutions that improve health outcomes, reduce health inequalities, and empower people to take control of their own health and wellbeing, and are passionate about delivering the best possible care and support to the people of Argyll and Bute.
For more information about Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership please visit,