Welcome to the St Patrick’s Community

The St Patrick’s Shared Housing Development is Radius Housing’s new flagship development in Ballymena, with a focus on building a ‘shared community’ before the first tenants even step foot on their new properties. It is the model for future Northern Irish housing developments.

Shared Housing envisions:

A united community, based on equality of opportunity, the desirability of good relations and reconciliation – one which is strengthened by its diversity, where cultural expression is celebrated and embraced and where everyone can live, learn, work and socialise together, free from prejudice, hate and intolerance.

Once completed, the mixed tenure site will encompass 135 social and affordable housing units, with tenants from all backgrounds. The site owned by Radius, Northern Ireland’s largest housing association, have employed MJ McBride to build the properties, as well as sought oversight from the NI Housing Executive, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council and range of other public and community stakeholders who form the Ballymena Advisory Group helping to shape the new community. The estate is part of the ‘Housing For All‘ initiative administered by the NI Executive Office’s ‘Together: Building United Communities’ programme – ensuring that all people from all backgrounds have fair and equal housing in NI today.

Here’s what Grainne Mullin, Radius Housing’s Community Investment Manager, had to say about the site:

‘Housing for all’ has an emphasis on ‘shared housing’. At St Patick’s, this ‘sharing’ has a duality:

  • All tenants in the new social and affordable homes live alongside each other
  • That people from all backgrounds are welcome in this shared experience

St Patrick’s is much more than just housing, however. It’s a community.

The site in the heart of Ballymena will host a new, state of the art leisure centre, community hub, a new wing of the Northern Regional College campus, a small business tech centre and workspace, Council offices, the new St Patrick’s link road easing access to/from town and a new police station – all alongside pre-established businesses and venues such as the Fairhill Shopping Centre, Ballymena Showgrounds and Ecos Nature Park. The site will certainly enhance the ambience of the town centre.

It is also a symbol for the future. St Patrick’s has historically hosted the St Patrick’s Barracks, which have over the years been home to the Royal Ulster Rifles, the Royal Irish Rangers and, most recently, the Royal Irish Regiment. It even hosted the US Army during the Second World War. Without stating the obvious, we have taken great pride in the fact that a former barracks – symbolic of years’ gone by – will now be hosting one of Northern Ireland’s largest shared communities. Our hope is that, with success, this shared model can be duplicated in other places.

Tangible plans have been put in place by Radius and its partners with a range community leaders and practitioners to build a sense of community from day one, seeking to be proactive rather than reactive. More on that to come in future articles.

We imagine these plans have captured the attention of you socially- and community-minded individuals out there. However, some of us are more technically minded. Here’s what Claire Gowan had to say on all the ‘nitty-gritty’ of the site’s pans:

Radius Housing looks forward to welcoming tenants into their new homes from February 2024. Please keep an eye on this site for updates going forward.