UK Inspire Award for Sion Mills housing scheme

A SION Mills housing project occupying the site of a disused builders yard has received another accolade.

Rural Housing Association’s Old Mill Court Scheme has been named winner of the 'Most Inspiring Building Project' category at the Inspire Awards 2021.

The Inspire Awards celebrate diversity and Inclusion in the UK construction, engineering and housing sector.

The award organisers said Old Mill Court is a flagship example of a housing proposal that combines innovative architectural design rooted in the history of its surroundings, with a commitment to improving the economic, social and environmental conditions of the village in which it sits.

Rural Housing Association’s CEO Stephen Fisher commented: “In 2014 Rural Housing published its Rural Design Guide for social housing in Northern Ireland.

"Old Mill Court in Sion Mills is the first embodiment of that design guide and reflects many of the unique aspects of the guide.

"We are delighted that the Inspire Awards 2021 has named Old Mill Court as 'Most Inspiring Building Project', reinforcing the hard work in developing the scheme by our in-house development team, the architects GM Design Associates, and Kevin Watson Group who built the scheme. Many thanks to them all."

From project inception Rural Housing Association and GM Design Associates worked to develop a scheme that would blend into the surrounding community, whilst reflecting the rich historical context of the village, achieving a scheme that reflects the history of the village whilst fitting unobtrusively into the surrounding community.

Old Mill Court received funding from the Department for Communities and Danske Bank to develop the scheme.

As a ‘Housing for All’ development the Department also funds Rural Housing to produce a comprehensive five-year good relations plan for the area.

This will see the long-term delivery of a range of community focused programmes for the local residents of Sion Mills, aimed at encouraging more inclusive and connected communities.

This holistic approach to promoting cohesion between the new development and the surrounding community places Rural Housing at the forefront of building sustainable rural communities.

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