A NEW £8.2 million housing scheme on the site of the former St Gemma’s girls’ school in Ardoyne has been officially opened.

The 53-home Clanmil Housing development provides 27 houses and two bungalows suitable for wheelchair users at Galgani Crescent and 24 apartments at Ardoyne Avenue.

All are for people on the social housing waiting list and have been built by Clanmil with the assistance of £4.1 million grant support from the Department for Communities. 

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Christina Black, joined people living in the new homes for a festive celebration to mark the official opening of the development.  

During a tour of the scheme, she also visited Shanna Ramsey who moved into her new home during the summer.  

Shanna said she was looking forward to spending her first Christmas in her new home and added:  “I’m really glad to have moved into my new home and I can’t wait to spend my first Christmas here with my son," she said.

Shanna Ramsey with her son Rohon, Maeve Monaghan (Clanmil Chair) and Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Christina Black

Shanna Ramsey with her son Rohon, Maeve Monaghan (Clanmil Chair) and Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Christina Black

"We waited four years to have our own home and Clanmil have definitely made it worth the wait with the best home and neighbours.” 

Councillor Christina Black said: “It’s lovely to be here today and meet some of the residents who are looking forward to enjoying their first Christmas in their new homes.

"There has been huge demand for social housing in the area, so it’s fantastic that this new development is helping to meet some of that need. I wish all the residents a very happy Christmas as they settle in to their new homes.” 

The new homes have been built to high levels of energy efficiency to help reduce heating and energy costs for the people who live in them. All have been constructed to Lifetime Homes and Secured by Design standards which ensure added security and ease of adaptation if required at a later date.  

Maeve Monaghan, Chair of Clanmil Housing, added: “I am delighted to join the new residents today to celebrate the official opening of Galgani Crescent and the new Ardoyne Avenue apartments.

"It gives me great heart to see everyone settling into their new homes in time for Christmas. We wish everyone many happy years in their beautiful new homes and hope they enjoy being part of this vibrant community.

“Clanmil strives to provide homes for people to live well and are committed to doing all we can to help address the growing housing crisis. There is much more to do, and we are continuing to work to bring more new homes to people who are in housing need throughout Northern Ireland.”