Ballymun Schools Programme, Dublin

Ballymun is a suburb on the north fringe of Dublin, with a population of just over 22,000. In recent decades it has become infamous for the Ballymun flats, which became a symbol of abject poverty and social problems in the area. The estate originally comprised seven 15-storey towers, nineteen 8-storey blocks, ten 4-storey buildings and 400 single family houses, all surrounded by a large wall, with no shops or local facilities. In the late 1990s Ballymun Regeneration Limited was created and in the last few years the towers have almost all been demolished and regeneration of the town is almost complete.

Today Ballymun has a wide range of amenities, from green spaces and the public Silloge Golf Course to a Tesco-anchored but very run-down shopping centre, a range of other shops and pubs and two hotels. The area has also seen investment in a public sector office development, with many branches of the city government (including a Motor Tax and Driver Licence office) and the Health Service and a very modern public leisure centre. There is a church in the old village centre, and a number of schools, including a Gaelscoil (Irish-speaking) primary school and St Joseph’s Junior and Senior Schools.

The Ballymun Music Programme provides an entry to the world if music-making for primary school children. The programme’s aim is to provide an introduction to music through free music lessons in a community that has almost no access to music education. This enables the children to build self-esteem, confidence and to learn new skills. Originally established in St Joseph’s Senior School, it has now expanded into another three schools creating the Ballymun Youth Orchestra.

In St Joseph’s Junior School, the gymnastics programme allows up to 200 children to receive free weekly, gymnastics training provided by specialist trainers and using specialist equipment.

Ballymun Schools Programme Provident Funding

St Joseph’s Junior School – gymnastics programme

Provident Good Neighbour funding allows for up to 200 children to receive free weekly, gymnastics training at the St Joseph’ Junior School in Dublin.  The funding provides for specialist trainers and for provision of specialist equipment.

St Joseph’s Senior School – music programme

The project introduces children in Ballymun to music activity in an accessible and sustainable way allowing them to build self-esteem and confidence and to learn new skills.  Originally established in St Joseph’s Senior School, funding has allowed the project to expand into another three schools, creating the Ballymun Youth Orchestra.

The project also aims to aid transition between primary and secondary education, working with children from ages 8 to 11.