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INGOODCOMPANY


@THEREC DAYLE BAYLISS, MENTA & STOWMARKET TOWN COUNCIL


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.


56


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


Case study


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