Sibelga owns several buildings in Brussels, a legacy that dates back to before the reorganisation of the electricity market. Some have found a new life, such as a former industrial complex in Forest that now houses the not-for-profit organisation ASBL Convivial in Forest.

In 1865, the Compagnie Continentale du Gaz set up in a district ideally located on the right bank of the Senne in Forest. It provided lighting for squares and streets, particularly in the Brussels municipalities.

At the turn of the century, the factory expanded to include new buildings and modern staff facilities. In 1913, it became one of the largest factories in Brussels. It was bombed during the Second World War but rose from the ashes before finally closing in the 1960s.

The Compagnie Continentale du Gaz in 1913 - Collection Belfius Banque-Académie royale de Belgique © ARB –

The Compagnie Continentale du Gaz in 1913.
Collection Belfius Banque-Académie royale de Belgique © ARB –

An inspiring transformation

Almost 40 years later, this place steeped in history underwent its latest transformation. Sibelga, then Electrabel, made the 3,500 square metre complex available to the not-for-profit organisation Convivial.

Convivial was founded in 1994 following a meeting and mutual assistance between a Belgian woman and a Rwandan refugee. It supports refugees and anyone of foreign origin in their efforts to integrate into society.

Convivial supports the social integration of new arrivals.

Continued support

Today, Convivial is still there and has grown! In 2019, the association was designated as a BAPA (Reception Agency for Newcomers), which significantly broadened its scope of action.

These new responsibilities necessitated the redevelopment of the premises, to which Sibelga contributed by taking charge of the insulation work.

Convivial meets basic needs.

Convivial: a committed stakeholder

Convivial's premises include storage areas for equipment (furniture, clothes, crockery, etc.) and food parcels to meet basic needs when people move into their first home.

The ASBL has also set up a social service that covers a wide range of activities: social, legal and administrative assistance, socio-professional guidance, various activities and medical and psychological help.

We help refugees to create a new life here and think about the future, including professionally.

Bruno Gilain, Director of Convivial

A partnership that makes a difference

By making its premises available free of charge, Sibelga is helping to improve the living conditions of these new arrivals in Brussels. And this is just one example of the support Sibelga offers to Brussels associations!