New library is ‘joint venture’ at Sunnylands


A new library has been opened this week in a joint venture between Sunnylands Primary School and Horizon SureStart.

The service, which was officially launched last Tuesday by Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim Joan Christie, aims to encourage literacy in children from an early age.

“The new library is to be jointly used by pre-school age kids and parents from SureStart as well as our own pupils,” said Sunnylands principal Gareth Hamilton.

It is also hoped the library’s striking ‘castle’ theme will attract users who are not as likely to use such a service.

“We had three different ideas put forward for a theme and we decided on a castle as this was the one we thought looked the most creative; it also ties in with Carrick castle. We’re hoping it will encourage more pupils to come in and use the library,” Gareth added.

The new facility also aims to provide a familiar environment for those using the SureStart service.

“SureStart are trying to encourage parents and kids to read together and develop a love of books from an early age,” said Margaret Armstrong, manager of the Sunnylands-based service.

“We support BookTrust and hold ‘story and rhyme’ time.

“We place a lot of value on parent-child interaction and hopefully they’ll be able to take ownership of this library service as it’s in a setting that’s already familiar to them.”

SureStart is a government-led initiative aimed at giving every child the best possible start in life.

The family support agency offers a range of services focusing on family health, early years care and education and improved well being programmes for parents and children aged four years and under.

Last year, Horizon Surestart backed a call from children’s charity Barnardo’s for the Northern Ireland Executive to do more to tackle child poverty.

The agency suggested the development of a childcare strategy along with steps to improve literacy and numeracy standards in children.