After a thought-provoking day of debate at Property Week’s Student Accommodation Conference last week, the sector’s leading lights had their chance to celebrate their achievements at the second annual Student Accommodation Awards

The awards – this year hosted by comedian Chris Ramsey – celebrate the companies and individuals who have enhanced the quality of accommodation in a sector currently facing numerous challenges, from Brexit to affordability.

Kicking off the event at Birmingham’s National Conference Centre, Property Week editor Liz Hamson praised the calibre of the entries in what has been a challenging year for the sector.

The biggest victor of the night was University Partnership Programme (UPP), headed by managing director of UPP Projects Andrew Percival. UPP clinched the University Halls of Residence of the Year and Halls of Residence Overall crowns for its Garden Halls scheme created with the University of London.

There was also reason for cheer at Fresh Student Living, which claimed the Private Halls of Residence (non-London) award for John Bell House in Belfast. Its cleaner Michelle Treasure was also rewarded for her “tireless work across many buildings” and was fittingly crowned Unsung Hero of the Year.

Prior to the main awards, the event celebrated innovation in the student accommodation sector as former Apprentice finalist Solly Akhtar grilled four start-up businesses before unveiling the inaugural winner of the Student Accommodation Innovation Launchpad Award.

In a highly competitive category, it was Twipes, the first-ever fully biodegradable toilet paper solution, that was announced as the winner, taking home the £1,000 prize to support the growth of its business.

However, the biggest winner was charity Student Minds, which received more than £3,500 to support its work providing mental health support for students across more than 100 universities nationwide.