Fold Housing Association has completed the first phase of an innovative scheme in the Twinbrook area of west Belfast which has seen an investment of £2.5m in the local community.
The development at Jasmine Way will provide a range of 31 general needs homes and apartments, as well as two retail units and one office.
Working alongside business owners, Fold Housing Association identified a development opportunity which would address significant housing demand in the area. In order to facilitate this three businesses were relocated into newly built and modern units.
Community Restorative Justice Ireland, Fusco’s and the Day Today Convenience Store all began trading from their new offices and stores in late 2015 having worked with Fold Housing Association closely throughout the construction process.
As part of Fold’s commitment to the social clause ethos, this work has provided one person with an apprenticeship scheme for the entire duration of the contract, with two further opportunities created through the Training for Success scheme with the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL).
Anita Conway, Director of Development for Fold Housing Association, said: “These new properties in the Twinbrook area are providing much needed homes to suit a range of families and singles in an area of high housing stress. They are a welcome addition to our existing homes in the Colin area.
“The design evolved from a detailed consultation and clear support for the inclusion of the commercial element in the plans. The location of the new homes, shops and offices are helping to provide a focal point for people to meet, interact and enjoy that sense of community which turns any development into a great place to live and work. This is the very ethos of our work at Fold. I would like to express my thanks to the owners of the commercial units and local residents for their ongoing co-operation throughout the construction.”
One of the first tenants to move into the completed phase is Micheala McKeown. She said: “This is my first family home and I really can’t wait to move in. My son Conghaile cannot wait to get his room all decorated with Lego. I am delighted that we are able to live close to family and friends and have all the amenities, including Conghaile’s school, nearby. I really love the house. The space inside is amazing and we will make great use of the garden. It is just perfect for our new family home.”
Jim McCarthy, Deputy Director of Community Restorative Justice Ireland (CRJI), said: “We are thrilled with the new office and how Fold were able to work with us to deliver premises to meet our needs. The office has been designed perfectly for our work in dealing with mediation. The professional surroundings reflect the professional nature of our work which was previously missing.”
Carlo Fusco, owner of Fusco’s Fish & Chips and Ice Cream, said: “I have worked in Twinbrook for 32 years and my family has been here for 43 years. The new shop is a dream come true for us. I look forward to coming to work in this beautiful shop every day. It is an asset to the community and will mean that we can carry on our family tradition serving local people and passing trade.”
Jacqueline Todd, 0owner of the independent Day Today Convenience Store, said: “The new premises are great. It is a new layout but a lot warmer than the old shop and the staff love it too. We are getting passing trade as well as regular customers and it has been great meeting all our new neighbours moving into the homes and the other commercial properties.”
Pictured above: Micheala McKeown, one of the first tenants to move into Fold''s new development at Jasmine Way in West Belfast.'