The Newcastle Evening Chronicle (19/6/2015) published this article about local company Hodgson Sayers and their support:
A religious retreat in the North East has linked up with one of the region’s top construction firms to get repairs and an upgrading of its facilities.
The Minsteracres Retreat Centre, on the border between Northumberland and County Durham, is benefiting from the partnership with Stanley-based building and roofing specialist Hodgson Sayers, one of the winners in this year’s North East Business Awards.
Hodgson Sayers has provided repairs at Minsteracres and also installed a new lift to improve disabled access.
The grade-II listed retreat, which is set within a 110-acre estate, runs a range of events and also provides respite to people who have come to the UK to escape persecution in their home countries.
Hodgson Sayers’ managing director John Sayers said: “We have a great affinity with Minsteracres, as some of us, over the years, have attended the church at Minsteracres or simply enjoyed the breathtaking surroundings.
“We have forged a very close relationship with Minsteracres and last November we hosted a special event to mark the company attaining Living Wage accreditation. For the last year we have been on-site at regular intervals to provide support in a number of ways.
“We have undertaken a full site clean of all of the gutters to help prevent an annual build-up of debris and leaves. We have stripped and removed the low level roof in the central garden area, recovered the roof coverings in felt and reinstalled the coping stones on completion. We carried out an intrusive survey to investigate a build-up within the drainage system. The area was excavated and we rerouted an existing gas pipe which had run through an underground drain.
“Last month, we also installed a front facing elevation lift to provide the building with better disabled access and we generally support the site with any repairs or maintenance requirements.”
Geoff Bockett, operations manager at Minsteracres, said: “It costs just over £1,000 a day to keep Minsteracres wind and water tight. This is an enormous expense for a charity that is not cash rich. To receive the pro bono support from Hodgson Sayers is wonderful and without which Minsteracres would be looking far worse for wear.
“A good example of this is the recent lifting and re-laying of enormous 18th century flagstones that had become cracked and dislodged, so posing a very real hazard. Over a period of three weeks the work was carried out painstakingly to re-lay and level them.
“They now set off our magnificent house and will last another 200 years or so. This work would have cost £15,000, but thanks to the enormous generosity of Hodgson Sayers we can focus the money saved on our role as a retreat.”
Hodgson Sayers was established in 1979 as a roofing contractor, diversifying over the years into building, fencing and metalwork fabrication.
It was the first construction firm in the North East to attain Living Wage accreditation and has publicly backed The Journal’s Pay Fair campaign encouraging the payment of suppliers on time and wider ethical trading practices.