Recycled containers to house new co-op centre

One of the longest running co-operative enterprise centres in the UK is going to be rehoused in premises constructed from recycled shipping containers bought with a loan we provided.

The Hendon Co-op Centre in Sunderland is being relocated a short distance into new, larger, innovative and environmental premises. For over 25 years the centre has been home to the North East England’s most successful social enterprise development agency, SES (Sustainable Enterprise Strategies), and a number of well known co-operative businesses including the multi-award winning Sunderland Home Care Associates.

The new centre will be constructed from 40 reconditioned shipping containers fabricated into rooms of various sizes. It will provide new offices and training rooms for SES and nearly 1,000 square metres of managed workspace for local enterprises. Already 60% of the new office space has been reserved. The rents will provide SES with a sustainable source of income for some of its core activities.

The building will incorporate a range of environmentally sensitive features including roof gardens, permeable hard landscaping (to reduce rainwater surges in drains) and heat exchange pumps.

“We chose this unusual method of construction because it’s sustainable and appropriate,” said Mark Heskett Saddington, a director of SES. “SES is committed to the principle of reduce, re-use and recycle and of course Sunderland has a long association with shipping. It’s also a relatively quick and low cost construction method.”
Work on site is scheduled to start at the end of August and the containers are expected to be installed during October. SES is planning to move into its new offices in December.

“Things are moving quickly now but it’s taken a long time to get here,” said Mark. “We started planning this three years ago.”

The project is being financed from a variety of sources including the sale of the original Hendon Co-op Centre, grants from the European Regional Development Fund and Sunderland City Council and loans from us, The Co-operative Loan Fund and The Co-operative Bank.

SES is the most recent name of the organisation that has provided specialist co-operative development (among other services) to the people of Sunderland since 1983. With a combination of values, vision and very hard work it has endured while many enterprise agencies have come and gone. It also has an office in North Shields and provides services across Tyne & Wear. It co-ordinates the work of The Co-operative Enterprise Hub throughout the North East region.