Children from St John’s and Killowen Primary Schools in Coleraine have come together to create a new song about looking after their wonderful community. The school children teamed up with local composer and musician Ian Hannah to write and record the song as part of a good relations programme supported by Radius Housing, and they unveiled the recording of ‘These Are Our Streets’ during a special event on Wednesday evening (9th March) in Christie Park, Coleraine.
The idea for the song came from the schools’ participation in Radius’ good relations programmes with the two primary schools, which focused on mental well-being and developing personal capacity. The Relaxed and Resilient programme which ran in St John’s and Killowen Primary Schools helped tackle antisocial behaviour in the Heights Area through music and well-being training.
The programme also involved the PSNI and provided health and well-being training to the pupils and their parents. Both school councils worked together with the composer to write a song about respect for their community, with the result being ’These Are Our Streets’.
Speaking about the project, Lisa Mooney, Communities Officer for Radius Housing said
“When we started working with the schools, we quickly saw that they recognised that antisocial behaviour was an issue impacting in the local area, and this is something that everyone wanted to deal with. It was fantastic that the pupils and their parents were proactive, embracing the workshops and taking the time to understand their own role in their community. Teaching children about respect, resilience and mental health at a young age is really encouraging and gives them the skills and knowledge to care for their own well-being and be a better neighbour. This will help reduce anti- social behaviour and create a stronger more cohesive community.
"We continue to work in partnership with the local Advisory Group and residents to develop the Laurel Hill Gardens Good Relations Plan. The plan seeks to build good relationships and a sustainable community.”
Arlene Moon, Principal of Killowen PS, said “We are so proud of the community we work, live and learn in. We want it to be the best that it can be and for the children to have the highest of aspirations. The programme plays an integral part in fostering these deep seated connections that can cross all divides. The words the children have composed in their new song say it all. Their voices need to be heard and we can support them to make good choices for this thriving community where our hearts all lie.”
Helen McDonnell, principal of St John’s Primary School added “This was a fascinating workshop and something that the children can really benefit from in the long-term. We as adults know only too well the stresses and strains that everyday life can have on us. By training our children now to deal with stress at an early age, we are providing them with a lifelong skill in a fun and informative way.”
A pupil from St John’s commented “After Monday's workshop I went home and actually felt better, I feel the breathing exercises really helped me.” While one of the children from Killowen PS said “I feel really proud to be part of this community when I sing our new song!”
The project aimed to develop both intra and cross community working within Radius T:buc / Housing for All Shared Housing areas through bringing people together from different backgrounds for mental well-being and good relations training. This is to promote inclusion, tackle antisocial behaviour and improve people’s mental well-being which will have a positive impact on the wider community. The Department for Communities provides Good Relations funding to support Shared Housing developments and their communities, which contribute to the Executive’s overall approach to creating a shared society.
This programme is supported by the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s ‘Housing for All’ Shared Housing Programme. The Programme has its origins in the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy which reflects the Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society. A total of £2,080,307 has been invested in the Laurel Hill Gardens Shared Housing development and associated five-year Good Relations Plan.
Radius Housing has both completed and proposed shared housing development in nine areas across Northern Ireland. The Good Relations plan for each includes ‘bridging’ events with the wider community which encourage a range of outcomes including health and well-being and education and training.
You can watch the video for ‘These Are Our Streets’ here https://youtu.be/XkQUSmVsQ6o