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CIH All Ireland Housing Awards 2024

19 Mar 2024

Congratulations to our Communities Officer Sharon Traynor and her team on their success at the recent CIH All Ireland Housing Awards 2024.

Sharon was presented with the "More Than Bricks and Mortar" award following the culmination of a 4-year tenant-led Diversity in Art Project, led and delivered with tenants from the Ravenhill Shared Development including Global Crescent, Ravenhill Avenue and Cantrell Close and facilitated by local artist Dee Craig from Belfast Mural Arts.


The program involved tenants working collectively as a group to make decisions, engaging in a range of workshops and deciding what key messages they wanted to promote and reflect within the area they lived in. Programme content included relationship-building and getting-to-know-you sessions, design and discussion opportunities, understanding the context of Shared Housing, setting outcomes and goals, reaching agreement and making a difference to their community.

Inspiration and Vision

To gain some idea of what informed the artwork content, participants attended a mural art tour around Belfast, helping enable them to create ideas of what they would like included through other community-based projects that already existed. Equally importantly it allowed them to consider what they didn’t want. The workshops were facilitated by local community hosts and provided an opportunity for participants to ask questions and consider any issues they may come across plus tips on how they might overcome these.

This exercise was very informative as it gave our participants a good solid base to work from, and a vision of how their artwork might take shape. It enabled them to consider what they wanted to portray through images, wording and the key messages within the artwork.

Building Relationships

To embed the learnings of a number of sessions, finalise the artwork design and continue to build on the relationships, participants attended a weekend residential to Corrymela. This solidified the group and gelled them together as a unit. The work to date had been amazingly successful in its purpose, but the residential put the "cherry on the cultural cake" and it was there that the full vision of what the artwork was to look like came to its final conception.

Participants also engaged in the making of a video timeline to ensure that visitors to the artwork installation could easily hear and see the journey of the Creative Community Art Project, the messages they were promoting and appreciate the visual art they had created to promote the four key themes of Our Children & Young People, Our Cultural Community, Our Diverse Community and Our Safe Community.

The video can be viewed here.


Better Cohesive Community Relationships
As a direct result of this project, relationships were developed between a range of cultures with participants continuing to support each other outside the weekly sessions. Some of the participants provided new friendship and support to BME participants and called to their homes to accompany them to the workshops each week as the BME families felt more confident and safer with provision of this support from those that were from the local area. This resulted in continued connections outside of the weekly programme with tenants making sure that BME families were also made aware of other opportunities to integrate into the local community, supported them to attend other community events, attended training courses with them and this resulted in their children also building friendships.

The program also contributed to restorative practices between participants were there had been conflict, tension and a breakdown in relationships. It provided a platform to build on and improve understanding and reach resolution in solving problems and therefore creating and providing a sense of safety while helping reduce cultural tension between residents and improve health and well-being outcomes for the families involved.

New Lifelong Skills were learnt by participants through the medium of art, including groupwork skills, paper flower making, creative writing, poetry and graphic design.

The project​ Raised Cultural Awareness and Understanding through discussions in which participants also learnt about different cultures, religions and some of the associated myths around these. The project provided a safe environment for difficult conversations, making new friends, expanding knowledge and awareness of neighbours and local community cultural norms.

Advice & Advocacy was provided throughout the sessions with participants sharing problems, issues, understanding of circumstances and systems and providing support to each other by sharing their own knowledge, skills and showing empathy for each other whilst working together to resolve issues highlighted on a range of themes such as employment and training opportunities, benefits guidance, family support knowledge, emotional support, guidance on schools, women’s issues, children’s issues and much more!


This project illustrated how bringing individuals and groups together from a range of cultures and backgrounds, while providing a safe space with a common goal, can create a more healthy, happy and cohesive community.

The participants all realised that they all have so much more in common than they initially thought and are dealing with the same issues as each other. They gained so much from taking part in this project, and have continued to support each other beyond the life of the project and take so much pride in the artwork they created and the messages they are sending out to the wider community and local residents on inclusiveness, diversity, respect and understanding and acceptance.

If you would like to find out more about this project, contact: