Fostering Futures

In the early days of the St Patrick’s Shared Housing site’s development, Radius Housing along with the Department for Communities and the NI Housing Executive’s ‘Housing for All’ Shared Housing Programme, supported the creation of the Knock Knock book (and wider project), which was co-written by pupils from schools across Ballymena and acclaimed Author and Poet, Nandi Jola. The project won the ‘All-Ireland Chartered Institute of Housing Award’ for promoting Shared Communities.

Here’s what students had to say about their experiences collaborating on the project:

The children and Nandi worked together to create stories, poems and illustrations about what ‘home’ and ‘place’ means to them.

The schools included:

  • Ballykeel Primary
  • Broughshane Primary
  • Carniny Primary
  • Gracehill Primary
  • Kells & Connor Primary
  • St Colmcille’s Primary
  • Braidside Integrated Primary
  • Buick Memorial Primary
  • Dunclug Primary
  • Castle Tower
  • Harryville Primary
  • St Paul’s, Ahoghill Primary

Upon publication, pupils were then gathered at Stormont to launch the book with local MLAs Jim Allister, Paul Frew and Cara Hunter.

The aim of the ‘Knock Knock’ book was to give a platform to young people so they could give voice to the issues that are important to them. The schools across Ballymena have representation from many different nations across the globe, which reflects the diversity in the area. ‘Knock Knock’ celebrates this diversity and how ‘home’ can mean different things to different people, while maintaining a commonality.

Nandi led a creative learning programme with the schools to explore the theme of ‘home’ and develop their stories, poems and illustrations. The books have now been shared with schools, the wider community and will be shared with St Patrick’s residents to promote diversity and community relations.

Lisa Mooney, Communities Officer for Radius said:

Knock Knock is a wonderful piece of work by the children. It’s a beautiful example of our cultural diversity. Nandi and the children have created an exciting and colourful book, awash with amazing poems, stories and art. It has now been widely shared across Ballymena in the schools, our sheltered schemes, public spaces and with our tenants at St Patrick’s Shared Housing upon their arrival.

Home is a personal story with a communal reality. We feel the recording of these students’ stories and experiences in Knock Knock, alongside the community’s upcoming Time Capsule launch, serve as opportunities to ensure the story of St Patrick’s Shared Housing remains sufficiently theirs.

At the launch one student commented, “It was great to actually take part in making a book.”

Another said, “I think this event was an amazing experience to have. I would like to help people move into houses in the future.”

St Patrick’s isn’t just about houses – it’s about home.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the book please email lisa.mooney@radiushousing.org