It’s not every day that children can witness the building of a major structure, within metres of their playground, but this is exactly what’s happening, at present, for the children of St Joseph’s Primary School and Nursery Unit, Dunloy. The very close proximity of the school premises to the grounds of Cuchullain’s G.A.C., means that the children can view, on a daily basis, the construction of the club’s new Centre of Excellence. The on-site activity of workmen, the forklift, excavators and the latest arrival, a crane, are proving to be a popular attraction and indeed a major talking-point, from the very youngest children in the nursery, to the more senior pupils in the school.
While all children have access the seeing the work being undertaken each day, the Year 5 children are in the fortunate position of having the opportunity to study the development of the project in detail. This is being incorporated into their World Around Us topic of “Dunloy Past and Present.” The school staff and pupils were delighted when approached by Mr Declan Mc Kendry, Contracts Manager of Dixons Contractors Ltd, to indicate that the company would be happy to host and sponsor the project for a Key Stage 2 class. The natural choice was the Year 5 children, as it fitted so naturally, into one of their World Around Us topics.
With much of the work on the construction of the Centre of Excellence scheduled to be going on during Term 2, the topic will include many new dimensions, which will be unique to this year only. The children will have opportunities to visit the site at various stage of construction, with the contracts manager, foreman, engineer and Health and Safety Officer all being very willing to give the children the benefit of their time and expertise. Dixons Contractors Ltd have sponsored the purchase of safety helmets, boots and high visibility clothing, especially for the children’s visits to the site.
The first visit took place on Friday morning, with the children meeting Mr Mc Kendry, Ms Eleanor Forrest, the firm’s Health and Safety Officer and Mr Joe Mc Kay, the site foreman. The children listened with great attention and enthusiasm, as they were given a very informative and interesting guided tour of the site by Mr Mc Kendry, who outlined the main features of structure and explained how the various machines on the site are operated. They excited and enthused in equal measure, when they had a close-up view of the crane at work. Some children had a go at bricklaying under the expert guidance of Mr Gregory O’ Kane, while Mr Paul Reid talked to the children about how the concrete wall panels, supplied by Creagh Concrete, are fitted. Ms Forrest talked to the children about the different about items of safety clothing and the importance of everyone keeping safe on-site.
Mr Mc Kendry said Dixon Contractors were delighted to host this project, adding, that as well as improving children’s knowledge of materials, structures and forces, it was an ideal opportunity to highlight to the children the safety issues around building sites and to promote the construction industry, to both girls and boys.
Mr Niall Mc Camphill, Chairman of Dunloy Cuchullains, said the club fully endorsed this initiative and that he hoped the young people would enjoy the project and benefit from, not only the study of the topic, but also from the facilities the Centre of Excellence will have to offer them in the future.
The principal of St Joseph’s, Mrs Maura Mc Alonan, thanked Dixons Contractors for their generous sponsorship and Cuchullain’s club for facilitating the children being involved in this ambitious and visionary project. She said, “The children, and indeed the staff are very excited about this work. The construction of this building is a very significant and inspirational milestone, both in the life of the club and in the lives of the pupils of St Joseph’s. Our Year 5 boys and girls are in the privileged position of seeing history in the making, with the club’s aspirations for the future, quite literally unfolding before their eyes.”