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Ballymena boy’s artwork brings Christmas card cheer

The festive artwork of 11 year old Adrian McVey from Castle Tower School in Ballymena has been chosen as Radius Housing’s 2021 Christmas Card.

His drawing, of a bright Christmas tree with a message of love, will be on hundreds of cards that the housing association will send in December, with the aim of bringing festive cheer.

Castle Tower School is adjacent to a new 135 home development on the site of the former St Patrick’s Barracks in Ballymena. Radius will begin construction on the site in Spring 2022.

The Christmas Card competition was part of the outreach project Radius is undertaking with the local community, and Adrian’s design was selected from over 150 entries from the school.

Radius Housing manages more than 13,000 homes across Northern Ireland, and constructs more than 400 new social and affordable homes each year.

On the St Patrick’s Barracks site, 20 of these new homes are affordable properties for sale and represents an investment in excess of £26 million by Radius Housing. The project will support local community projects and will see a number of apprentice roles funded through the lifetime of the construction. Radius have been invited to bring the St. Patrick’s Barracks site on to the ‘Housing for All’ Programme which will see the scheme promoted as a shared neighbourhood.

‘Housing for All’ is the Department for Communities and Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s Shared Housing Programme, and it forms part of the Programme for Government. This will also involve the future establishment of an Advisory Group for the scheme, and the ongoing development of an associated Good Relations Plan. The St Patrick’s Good Relations Plan will include ‘Bridging’ events which are delivered to the wider community to encourage a range of good relations outcomes which include Health and Wellbeing, Education and Training. The Department for Communities is committed to delivering approximately 200 shared social housing units per year as part of the Social Housing Development Programme.

The Programme is not about forcing people to live in a certain way or in a certain area, but rather to improve the choices that are available by tackling the barriers that prevent individuals from opting to live in shared neighbourhoods

Speaking about Adrian’s winning artwork, Grainne Mullin, Community Investment Programme Manager from Radius Housing said:

We are delighted that Adrian has created this colourful, festive artwork for the Radius Christmas Card, with a ‘Lots of Love’ message that is so appropriate for this time of year. Over the Christmas period Radius will send hundreds of these cards to our partners and friends in Northern Ireland. The children from Tower Castle who painted and drew Christmas images have brought a wonderful festive feeling to Radius. “This is the first community project we have undertaken locally, and as work begins on the 135 new homes at the St Patrick’s Barracks site in early 2022, we look forward to more positive engagement with Castle Tower and the wider community.”

Alick Ford, teacher at Castle Tower commented:

Castle Tower School was delighted to be asked to be part of Radius Housing’s 2021 Christmas Card competition. Our pupils really enjoyed taking part and Adrian was thrilled when he saw his picture on the front of this year’s Christmas card. The school community has been watching as the St Patricks site has been cleared over the past number of months and are looking forward to seeing the much needed housing development progress in 2022.”


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