Celebrating Home – “Knock Knock” | New Book Launch with School Children

School children learning together | NICRC

Pupils from 12 primary schools in Ballymena have penned their reflections and musings on their concepts of "Home" in a new book titled ‘Knock Knock’. The pupils worked with poet and author Nandi Jola to create the book which celebrates diversity and culture, and it brings together the children’s’ stories, poems and illustrations of their homes.

The initiative was supported by Radius Housing, as part of their good relations work for the new Housing for All shared housing development at the former St Patrick’s Barracks site in Ballymena. To celebrate the launch of the book, the pupils gathered at the Long Gallery in Parliament Buildings with local MLAs Jim Allister, Paul Frew, and Cara Hunter, and Mid and East Antrim Mayor, Alderman Noel Williams.

The ‘Knock Knock’ Schools project is supported by the Department for Communities and the Housing Executive’s Housing for All Shared Housing Programme, which has its origins in the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy. Radius currently has 11 shared housing schemes, including the £26m St Patrick’s development that will deliver 135 new homes.

Speaking at the launch, Lisa Mooney, Communities Officer from Radius Housing said:

“Knock Knock is a wonderful piece of work and it captures the children’s voices on the themes of Home, friendship and community. It’s a beautiful example of our cultural diversity, and together with Nandi, the children have created an exciting book, awash with amazing poems, stories.”

David Shepherd, Area Housing Manager for Ballymena added:

“This is another great project to have come from the Good Relations Plan for the St Patrick’s site. It brings together so many positive messages from young people in the area, and we look forward to working more with the local community in the coming months.”

At the launch one student commented:

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

The pupils also participated in workshops, including writing postcards to the new tenants who will move into the St Patrick’s Barracks Site when the housing development is completed. The workshops were followed by a guided tour of Parliament Buildings.