A NEW-LOOK enterprise centre built from 37 reconditioned shipping containers is set to open in Sunderland in the new year.
Sustainable Enterprise Strategies (SES) will move into the co-operative business centre on the site of the old River Wear social club in Hendon, replacing its current premises at the Hendon Co-op Centre which is due to be demolished next year.
Construction of the new centre has just started but already around 60% of the 100,000sq m of managed space has been reserved. In addition to SES, other occupants of the old centre, including Sunderland Home Care Associates, will be moving across.
SES director Mark Heskett-Saddington said: “The building will represent the enterprising work that goes on in the Hendon area and demand is already proving that social businesses are still thriving in difficult economic conditions.
“We have been running in the North East for over 28 years now and this new development will secure our operation as we look to support enterprise in all its forms.”
SES helped to create 27 new social enterprises in 2010/11 and continued to support 163 around the region. They include Sunderland and North Tyneside Home Care Associates, Compass Transport, Be Active, Be Fit and Sunderland Dance CIC, which have a combined turnover of more than £27.5m and employ around 1,430 people.
The enterprise agency also helped in the creation of 313 traditional business start-ups in the same period.
The new centre, which is funded via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2007-13, SES, Sunderland City Council, Co-operative and Community Finance and the Co-operative Bank, has been designed by Newcastle-based Napper Architects.