Our contribution to developing this venue into a dynamic meeting place where all people, regardless of background, are welcome feels both valuable and heartfelt on our part,” says Cecilia Kolga, Group Relations Executive Officer in Soya Group.
Just a stone’s throw from Wallenius’ headquarters on Södermalm, Stockholm, is Mötesplats Mariatorget in St. Paul’s Church. The property was acquired in 2015 by Stadsmissionen (the Stockholm City Mission) to create a safe place for the socially vulnerable. Even when the church was acquired, it was obvious that it would need renovating.
“The basic construction needed to be strengthened, among other issues. So, it basically required a complete renovation and possibly even more rebuilding,” says Kicki Aldrin, who is responsible for foundations and large donations at Stadsmissionen.
Donations from partners such as Wallfast and Wallenius Lines have played a significant role in the project, according to Kicki. Parts of the church have been preserved, while it has also been adapted for Mötesplats Maria’s activities. So now there is space to organise cultural events and meals, as well as a place for Stadsmissionen to offer support in the form of grants and other kinds of help.
“It’s now a modern place with great cultural value. We have preserved and renovated it really well, with the help of city archivists. We want to invite the public to bridge borders and prejudices,” Kicki says.
Cecilia Kolga emphasises the importance of collaborations with organisations such as Stadsmissionen:
“Wallfast has worked together with Stadsmissionen for a long time now, over 10 years. Their work is in line with our values, where we both want to contribute to a better society. We were at the opening, and it has turned out really well. It truly is a meeting place for everyone,” she says.
The renovation has received a great deal of attention, resulting, among other things, in its being nominated for the Kasper Salin prize, an award handed out by Sveriges Arkitekter (the association of Swedish architects).
“It’s a very prestigious prize and what makes the nomination extra special is that everyone involved in this project has found it incredibly enjoyable and worthy,” says Kicki Aldrin.