Local pupils have designs on Banbridge Housing Scheme

More than 150 children from primary schools in Banbridge have taken part in a series of art workshops to help lay foundations for a new shared neighbourhood project in their local area.

Clanmil Housing is currently building 32 homes at Dromore Street in Banbridge. The new development of apartments for active older people and family houses is being promoted as a shared neighbourhood.

The fun and educational arts programme has been organised by Clanmil working with Community Arts Partnership to provide Primary 7 pupils from Edenderry Primary, Bridge Integrated Primary, and St Marys Primary with opportunities to come together in their community to reflect on and engage creatively around their identity.

Through the project the children are being encouraged to consider the concept of Shared Neighbourhoods and the reality of segregation and to explore possibilities for the future.

The children’s ideas will be used to inspire a unique artwork or sculpture for permanent display within the new housing scheme.

Tim O’Malley, Community Development Manager at Clanmil Housing said: “The concept of sharing where we live can be a complex issue and this project is about encouraging the children to explore and develop ideas through art that are relevant to them and their families. The images they are creating together wonderfully capture how young people perceive the community they live in, want their future to be and how people of all backgrounds can make better progress together.

“It is crucial that we take their creative ideas on board and move forward in a positive way.

“We see housing as central to driving change and these new homes, which are welcoming for everyone, are a strong step forward. Not only will the new homes help reduce housing waiting lists but they will also provide people with the choice of living in a safe neighbourhood that welcomes diversity.”

Shared housing schemes give people the choice of living in neighbourhoods with people from many backgrounds and traditions and Clanmil is committed to delivering homes that are welcoming to all.

Charo Lanao, Community Facilitator at Community Arts Partnership, said: “This creative project has really captured the children’s imagination and enthusiasm.

Their ideas will inspire an amazing artwork for the community to enjoy for years to come.”

“It’s lovely to see new friendships form among the pupils as they engage in new conversations about important community issues and we hope these connections will continue beyond this project.

“Building relationships and holding meaningful conversations are at the foundation of a healthy neighbourhood.”