“I wanted Halliday Mills to be a family-friendly, neighbour-friendly place."
March 21, 2023
Members moved into Halliday Mills, a complex of 85 apartments in Dundalk town, in January 2022 and soon after an effort was made to set up a Member Association to represent the community and its needs. Participation in the association from the community fluctuated but one Member, Inga Perkone took it upon herself to organise community events within the development.
Inga explains why she started volunteering in her community, “In the beginning many people were hiding away in their apartments. I wanted people to come together. I heard that Lar, the Housing Officer, was looking for someone to volunteer and help with events and I decided to do it. This type of volunteer work was new to me.”
She continues, “I wanted Halliday Mills to be a family-friendly, neighbour-friendly place. Not saying everyone has to be best friends, but that there’s some decency, that there are meeting points and possibly clubs for people to come together. There’s a lot of children in this place, I have three children myself, so it’s important for us to come together.”
The community events organised by Inga have served as an opportunity for the community in Halliday Mills to get together as a group and build lasting relationships. It has also encouraged the children within the complex to make friends.
As with all new residential developments, there has been an adjustment phase since Members have moved in. Lar Roddy, Housing Officer to Halliday Mills, describes the impact Inga’s work has had in helping Members settle in, “Halliday Mills is the largest apartment complex in Dundalk town comprising families and individuals from a range of backgrounds, including different ages, nationalities, those with disabilities, and some coming from Mental health and homelessness services. As a new community there were struggles at the beginning and obstacles to establishing community spirit in the area. At present through the work of Inga people are starting to feel like these are their homes for life.”
One of the first community events in Halliday Mills was a Smoothie and Pastry morning which took place in the courtyard of the development. It was a great success with over 20 Members attending. The morning spurred a walking group, which meets every Monday at 6pm and goes for walks around the Dundalk area. These Member activities not only help to build relationships between Members but also increase engagement with CHI, which in turn encourages attendance in important organisation-led and routine meetings such as general meetings, Neighbourhood Watch and Fire Safety initiatives.
Over one-third of the households at Halliday Mills have children, so Inga wanted to mark special holidays such as Halloween and Christmas for them. She organised a Halloween party with dress up, games and sweets, which was enjoyed by all ages!
On the success of the Halloween party, a Christmas party was held in the communal area for the children. Santa Claus visited and gave presents to the children. There were biscuits, sweets and soft drinks for Members who came along.
Geraldine Martin, another CHI Member and Halliday Mills resident, explains how seeing a neighbour get involved inspired her to be more active in the complex, “I attended the Christmas party. I see the effort to have more community events as a positive. We have a Member Association here, Inga is co-chair, she has been very proactive. I didn’t originally join the association but recently I was inspired to get involved by seeing others like Inga put themselves forward. I’m looking forward to the events we have planned.”
Lar Roddy describes the impact Inga’s work has made on the community which once was fragmented, “Over the last two months, Halliday Mills has really felt as if there is a community growing and this is in no doubt down to the hard work of many members but in my eyes mainly down to Inga’s determination, commitment and passion for her home and the people in this community”.