Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 11.34.37

Minsteracres Retreat Centre, County Durham, is benefiting from the good will of Stanley-based building and roofing specialist, Hodgson Sayers.

Set in a beautiful 110 acre estate, the grade II listed building offers space for retreats and events and regularly provides respite to people who have come to the UK to escape persecution in their home countries. The peace and solitude at Minsteracres gives them an opportunity to recover from their trauma.

Thanks to the relationship formed with Hodgson Sayers, much needed repairs have taken place plus the installation of a new lift that provides better disabled access.

John Sayers, Managing Director at Hodgson 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 Retreat Centre, 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.”

Established in 1979, Hodgson Sayers was primarily a roofing contractor. Over the years it has developed and diversified considerably to include building works, fencing and metalwork fabrication.

Living up to its key values of honesty, decency and integrity, the company became the first in the North East construction sector 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.

In 2014 Hodgson Sayers featured in the Ward Hadaway ‘Fastest 50 Growing Companies’ and in 2015 it was acknowledged by the London Stock Exchange as one of the ‘1000 companies to Inspire Britain 2015.’

Its ISO9001 & ISO14001 accredited operations are reflected in the consistently high standards of delivery, presentation and all processes.