The Lizard Club

Knock Riada is a place where residents of all ages are central to, and active in, creating their own thriving community. As a large number of tenants living in this 36 unit estate are children, residents came up with an idea – a club for Knock Riada children. Clúid supported this with an annual community grant and the Lizard
Club opened in January 2011.

Set in the community centre on the estate, the club exemplifies tenant participation and has helped to bring the community to life. In 2012, residents were awarded first prize in the special project category of Clúid’s Great Places to Live competition for their work in running the Lizard Club.

Adam (16), Joan (“going on 12 in April”) and Ben (13) are three residents of Knock Riada.

Adam: “I’m here since I was 6”.

Joan: “Same”.

Ben: “I’m only (makes an inverted comma hand signal) “new” here. I was here since I was 10. I had my tenth birthday here”.

The Lizard Club isn’t running today and the children sit in what is called the ‘quiet room’.

Adam: “People come into the quiet room and just sit and chill”.

Joan: “And the girls draw, mostly it’s ‘I love Zayn’ or ‘I love Louis’ ‘cause everyone loves One Direction here. Well most of the girls anyway”.

The three members move into the ‘main room’ of the club. Adam, Joan and Ben spring to life and run in separate directions.

Ben: “There’s the Ping-Pong table”.

Joan: “We have a punching bag over there”.

Adam: “There’s the kitchen. You get turns to bake every week. If you haven’t done it before you can do it. Just say Ben did it last week and I haven’t done it in three weeks, they’ll let me do it then”.

Ben: “Two people get to bake each week. We bake brownies, rocky roads”.

Adam: “Noreen or Martina teaches us”.

Adam dives into the large leather sofa and pulls out the middle section of the couch where he sits his drink in the convenient cup holders. Joan and Ben opt for the other side of the room where a massive cupboard stretches across the length of the wall. Both pull back a door where a bunch of games and equipment are uncovered.

Ben: “We had a disco on Friday and we played musical chairs here”.

Joan: “And we had pizza”.

Ben: “Sometimes we have movie nights”.

Adam: “It projects off the wall”.

Joan explains where the idea for this club came from. “My Mam and Ann and Noreen were thinking of something to do for the children because we were all getting bored. So me and my two friends were told to come up with a few ideas and I think other people were asked to as well so that’s how this place was made”.

Adam: “We come in from 7.30-9. There’s one for the younger kids under six and that’s from 5-6. Then the volunteers clean up the mess the little ones make from 6-7 and they let us in from 7.30pm. They’re planning on setting up a group for older people. They’re doing one for over 14”.

Joan: “My mam is the best volunteer here. My mam is amazing”!

Ben (whispers): “I like Ann. She’s nice and I live beside her”.

Ben: “We got a Wii a few days ago with loads of games and two controllers. We bought it out of the money that they won for the Great Places to Live competition.

Adam: They asked us what we wanted to get so we decided a Wii”.

Ben: “There’s no fights over it because there’s a timetable and an egg timer!”

The Lizard Club is now so popular that schedules and clocking devices ensure that everyone gets a chance to use the club. Volunteer residents spend a considerable amount of personal time in making this hub a great place to hang out for children in the neighbourhood. The residents are justly proud of their Great Places to Live award and if their commitment is anything to go by, the Lizard Club will be running for many years to come.

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