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Surprise Empty Homes award for Inverness firm Howden's Joinery

By Calum MacLeod

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Cameron Masterton of Howden's Joinery with the firm's award. Picture: Callum Mackay
Cameron Masterton of Howden's Joinery with the firm's award. Picture: Callum Mackay

A team of Inverness-based joiners have received some unexpected recognition for their part in helping prepare empty homes for new occupants.

The Inverness branch of Howden’s Joinery, based in the Longman, is one of four national category winners in the 10th Scottish Empty Homes Awards.

The firm was nominated for the commercial service award by Murdo MacLeod, empty homes officer with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, for its work in the Western Isles, an area with one of the highest empty homes rates in Scotland due to long-term population decline.

“We didn’t even know until late on that there was such an award and that we were up for it, so it was a bit of a surprise to us, but good all the same,” assistant manager Cameron Masterton said.

“We were just absolutely delighted that we could be of service to such a great scheme.

“Our primary business is kitchens, so we created an entry-level kitchen package to get them started, and it’s gone on from there. It can be very hard to quantify how many homes we contribute to because a lot of our work is done through tradesmen on the Outer Isles, but it has obviously been several to be nominated in that category.”

According to the awards citation, Howden’s Joinery in Inverness, which has a team of 15, impressed the judges by its staff’s willingness to go the extra mile to help bring empty homes back into use, particularly in harder to reach areas.

The branch was described as “instrumental” in helping to provide kitchens and other materials to help empty homeowners bring their property back into use.

The judges’ continued: “With a high-quality product and competitive prices, empty homeowners have been able to afford the kitchen they really want, which can make all the difference when seeking to rent out or sell a property.”

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