Rural Housing Association and Lowry Construction have hosted an intergenerational engagement event on Rathlin Island, bringing together pupils from St Mary’s Primary School, Rathlin and the island’s Tuesday Club. This event was part of Rural Housing’s ongoing engagement activities with the island community, aimed at actively involving local people in the development of a new-build social housing scheme on the island. Over recent weeks local residents have been working with the Association to develop a name for the new scheme. This community-led approach to the naming of the scheme ensures local people have the opportunity to be involved in key decisions relating to the scheme’s development.
This scheme, which will see the construction of ten homes, are the first new build social housing on the island in almost a decade, helping meet the demand for housing on the island as the population of 150 continues to grow. The project has been underway for a number of years, since Rural Housing identified a site and a Rural Need Test was undertaken by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, which supported the need to develop new homes on the island.
The new homes will consist of four 1-bedroom apartments, four 2-bedroom apartments, two or which will be wheelchair accessible, and two 3-bedroom houses, and have been designed in line with Rural Housing Association’s design guide, which aims to develop homes which are sympathetic to the landscape and are in character with the local area. The homes will also be developed to modern energy efficiency standards.
The scheme has been designed by Studio Rogers and will be developed by Lowry Construction The new build is part funded through the Department for Communities (HAG) and Dankse Bank.
Rural Housing’s Chief Executive Stephen Fisher added “Central to the goal of Rural Housing Association is to identity rural communities that are growing or have capacity to grow, and ensuring that they have social housing to meet the need. With the Rathlin Island project, we did not shy away from the challenges that it brought, and we have been determined that this community should have social housing to help it to grow and flourish.
“Constructing on an island will not be an easy task logistically, but like with any new build project, our team and our partner organisations have the determination and skills to meet and overcome these challenges. These new houses will be in one of the most unique and stunning rural communities in Northern Ireland, and we are looking forward to the day that they are homes to 10 families.”