Sports group moves into ‘Container City’

Peter Curtis and Keiron Mitchell of North-East Sport outside the new Co-op Centre in Sunderland which is made out of recycled shipping containers
Peter Curtis and Keiron Mitchell of North-East Sport outside the new Co-op Centre in Sunderland which is made out of recycled shipping containers
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A NEW complex dubbed “Container City” has become home to a vital sports project.

Not-for-profit organisation North East Sport is among the first wave of organisations to move into Sunderland’s newest office development.

The unusual complex, in Hendon, has been created from 37 shipping containers which had reached the end of their commercial life.

Container City was put together for Sustainable Enterprise Strategies (SES), a social enterprise firm which has also moved into the development.

It was all hands on deck as NE Sport CIC completed the move from its former base in Southwick to Hendon and appointed a new director, 33-year-old social enterprise expert, Michelle Booth.

Founder Peter Curtis, who once travelled the world with the Navy, is delighted with his new “home”.

“It gives us more opportunity, having our own place, like bringing young people in on work experience, which gives youths some sort of foothold in life, because they need it.

“I’m over the moon with the building. It’s brilliant.

“Michelle is a great addition to the team, specialising in the creation, development and growth of social enterprises.

“She is incredibly passionate about social enterprise and providing opportunities for local communities and local people.”

NE Sport director Chris Johnson added: “The move to Container City is a great one for us.

“We’re building our presence in the Hendon and St Michael’s wards, as well as the wider city, so it makes sense to have a base right in the heart of that.”

The block, which took five months to construct, is made up of 23 offices, 60 per cent of which have already been let to start-up businesses and other social enterprise ventures.

Mark Heskett Saddington, director of SES, said: “We chose this unusual method of construction because it’s sustainable and appropriate, and SES is committed to the principle of reduce, re-use and recycle and of course Sunderland has a long association with shipping.”

SES was set up in 1983 with a mission to use enterprise to challenge poverty and inequality in the North East.

It helps start-up and support businesses and social enterprise projects. Its achievements included creating 249 businesses and 22 new social enterprises.

Twitter: @janethejourno

The million-mile complex

Designed by Newcastle-based Napper Architects and built by Clugston Construction, of Hebburn, the three-storey complex has re-used containers which have each travelled around a million miles transporting goods.

They were stripped down, shot blasted and new steelwork added, before being spray-insulated to prevent condensation, with a variety of office sizes provided by using either one container or cutting out sides and combining two or three for bigger units.