Ballycastle & District Voluntary Housing Association in Co. Mayo

Ballycastle & District Voluntary Housing Association Limited was founded in 2001 when a group of local people got together to assess the need for independent housing for the elderly in the Ballycastle area.

The site for the housing development on the former Convent of Mercy grounds was purchased from the VEC and planning permission was obtained in May 2004. Funding was granted by Mayo County Council under the Capital Assistance Scheme along with a grant towards building a community facilitiy.

Suífinn Way Project

Work commenced on the 'Suífinn Way' housing project in November 2006 to build 21 two-bedroomed houses, a caretaker's house and a purpose-built day care centre. The ground work within the development involved the building of the 'Standing Stones' sculpture and seating area, which is reflective of the harsh seascape of Ballycastle.

The committee enlisted the assistance of the Rural Social Scheme to complete this ground work.

Official Opening

The 'Suífinn Way' housing development was completed in 2008 and the first tenants took up residence in April of that year.

Ballycastle & District Voluntary Housing Association committee has steered and guided the project since the very beginning in 2001 and it is their dedication and commitment that has led to the completion of the building works and the ongoing management of the project.

The official opening of 'Suífinn Way' by President Mary McAleese, took place in 2010 and the committee were awarded a '2010 Mayo People of the Year Award'.

The Houses

The 'Suífinn Way' housing development comprises two-bedroomed semi-detached bungalows built in a semi-circle around a day care centre. These houses are specially designed for the needs of elderly residents to enable them to live active and independent lives.

Internally the houses are open-plan with wheelchair accessible showers and external walkways and footpaths are also fully wheelchair accessible.

The houses are unfurnished so that tenants can bring their own furniture and personal belongings. Each house has a private back garden with its own shed.

Tenancy of Suífinn Way

There are two types of tenancy in 'Suífinn Way'.

  • Irish applicants must be over 60 years of age and have been assessed by Mayo County Council to establish that they have a housing need, after which they can contact 'Suífinn Way' who will help them through the applications process.

  • Overseas applicants and returning emigrants must apply via the Safe Home programme in Mulranny, County Mayo. 25% of the houses in' Suífinn Way' are allocated through the Safe Home programme. The only criteria to qualify for the Safe Home scheme is to be elderly, with a desire to return to Ireland, but without the means to do so yourself.

Administration

The houses are owned by the Ballycastle & District Voluntary Housing Association and are rented by the tenants for as long as they want them. 25% of the houses are allocated to returning emigrants through Safe Home.

Suífinn Way Voluntary Housing employs a full-time caretaker who lives on-site and is responsible for all maintenance of the estate and grounds. An Administrative assistant is employed under the Rural Social Scheme and is based in the office in the day care centre.