Enterprise Causeway had the pleasure of visiting Dunseverick, Bushmills, Ballytober and Straidbilly primary schools as part of an interactive heritage talk, where pupils learned more about the rich history of Bushmills and the Courthouse building, and took part in a creative brainstorming session, conceiving names for the event spaces in the top floor of the new building.

Through a quiz and presentation, pupils learned about the development of the village; the Courthouse building’s construction in 1834; the influence of its owners – the MacNaghten family, upon the village; the different uses of the building since it ceased as a petty session court in 1938; and the recent restoration and extension efforts by Enterprise Causeway, and plans for the new creative hub.

Volunteers got the chance to step back in time, dressing in Victorian costumes provided by Causeway Coast and Glens Museum Services, to immerse themselves in the building’s history – dressing as Sir Francis Workman MacNaghten (who commissioned the building) and his wife, Lady Letitia Dunkin.

Speaking about the decision to ask local primary schools to help in the naming of the new building’s event spaces, Enterprise Causeway’s CEO, Jayne Taggart, noted: “The new Courthouse building is a creative space for everyone to use and enjoy. Having rolled out an extensive community outreach programme over the last few years we knew that young minds are incredibly astute and innovative. They identify concepts and create pieces that we could simply never think of!

“When we sat down to naming our event spaces we thought it would be great to get the four local primary schools involved – particularly given that they will be our future users – so it’s lovely for the building to have that connection back to them.

“The pupils came up with a wide range of ideas and suggestions that not only helped with naming the rooms, but provided us with an insight into some of the programmes and activities they would like to see within the building. We look forward to seeing both the schools, and the publics reactions when the building opens, later this year.”

The Courthouse Shared Space Creative Hub project is sensitively restoring the Grade B1 listed building, and constructing a new, three-floor extension, to it’s rear.

The 15,600 square foot building will be an inclusive space for use by all ages, ethnicities and social backgrounds – offering various amenities such as a messy studio; café; meeting and event spaces; retail; and 15 workshop spaces.

The €7.8m project has been funded through the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. Match-funding has been provided by the Department for Communities, Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development, Ireland.

For updates on the project follow on Facebook: @thecourthousepeaceiv OR alternatively, sign-up to the mailing list to be kept informed of the building’s open and programmes/events: https://bit.ly/3tGshyc

Straidbilly Primary School

Dunseverick Primary School

Bushmills Primary School

Ballytober Primary School