This book includes a plain text version that is designed for high accessibility. To use this version please follow this link.


Community spirit I

How two shipping containers, a tiny £40k budget and a collaboration created a community space in Suffolk

n 2013 Menta, the not-for-profit Suffolk Enterprise Agency, was approached by Stowmarket Town

Council with the idea of creating a community café and business space within a local recreational ground. Construction consultancy, Dayle Bayliss was asked by Menta to partner with them to develop the scheme. What resulted was @TheRec – an

example of community spirit, sustainability and collaboration that has been shortlisted for a RICS East of England awards due to be announced on 6 May.

But with a minuscule budget, the

project had to rely on donations, pro bono work and the support of several agencies.

Happy to help It was agreed that the café space would also offer training and enterprise skills courses. When Dayle Bayliss was approached about a project designed to improve the skills and aspirations of a community, it said it did not hesitate to get involved. “The idea of offering a lifeline to

new and fledgling businesses and entrepreneurs appealed greatly to us as we have been heavily involved in mentoring schemes,” says Dayle Bayliss. So much so in fact, that the firm offered its services for free.

The recreational ground site was

already a vibrant space well used by the community and with good links to the local school and the skate park. But with Menta’s enterprise and skills background, the project presented the opportunity to act as a catalyst to engage the community in the local skills agenda. There was just one problem: there was only a budget of £40k available to deliver the scheme. The team worked together to convert

two 40ft shipping containers, donated by Felixstowe Port to form the foundation of the building. The upcycled containers had travelled

the world - one had belonged to the Korean Chemical Company – and were bright red which, it was felt, helped lift the landscape and draw attention to the facility in the heart of the recreation ground. Both had to be insulated to comply with

current regulations and Dayle Bayliss Associates helped the project achieve planning and Building Regulation consent and were on hand throughout the build. This work was supported by a member

of the Menta team, who worked with the users of the recreational ground to help them understand the service offering, and engage them throughout the planning and construction process. Stowmarket Town Council donated labour and

@TheRec is a thriving community space offering a café and support to fledgling businesses

construction skills, meaning that the project was delivered within the £40k budget.

Planning was achieved in early 2014 and in June 2014 @TheRec opened its doors to the public.

Thriving enterprise The café is now run by community interest company Realise Futures so that any profits made are reinvested back into the local community. Job Centre Plus is working in partnership with the project to offer job clubs within the training space and the partnerships continue to develop. Locally-based PPG employees have extended the seating area and have provided display screens for the training events.


“The team worked to convert two shipping containers donated by Felixstowe port to form the foundation of the building”

Case study

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64