Second birthday and much more to celebrate

Preparing for the opening - Slindon Forge's Maria Orarte and her helper Julie Roberts.''C121384-2 Bog Slindon Legacy  Photo Louise Adams ENGSUS00120121010103154
Preparing for the opening - Slindon Forge's Maria Orarte and her helper Julie Roberts.''C121384-2 Bog Slindon Legacy Photo Louise Adams ENGSUS00120121010103154

GOOD things come in threes at a Slindon community hub.

There were smiles all around as Slindon Forge enjoyed a triple celebration this week.

The former forge, in Reynolds Lane, has been converted into a shop and café and has marked its second birthday since the change.

Niki Adamson, chairman of Slindon Forge Society’s management group said: “It’s only two years since we opened and already I find it hard to remember how things were before we had the forge.

“The shop has had a really positive and transformative effect on the life of the village – the benefits have been wide-ranging and substantial.

“More than the obvious advantage of having a shop just round the corner, the forge has become a place for people to meet, shopping there saves on petrol and time and overall it has made an enormous difference to our community. At a time when so many villages are losing essential services it’s great that we have bucked the trend.”

The forge has proved a hit with a hit with residents and visitors –with last month being its busiest ever.

In October, it smashed their previous turnover record by 28 per cent, serving 5,500 customers in the month.

Slindon Forge’s manager Julie Roberts, said: “We seem to have struck a chord – we’re welcoming more and more visitors from the area, not just villagers.

“The forge has a warm and friendly atmosphere and people seem to really like coming here to shop, have a coffee and cake or lunch and we have lovely comments in our visitor book, which makes all our hard work so worthwhile.

“There’s always lots to see – art displays on the walls and just now we have a display about the work of sculptor Jon Edgar who is about to start a major community art project in the area.

“A three-tonne piece of Portland limestone arrived in our garden the other day.”

The good news does not end there as the forge also won a major rural enterprise award last week. The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England named Slindon Forge the award winner in the Sussex Rural Enterprise category.

The award was presented by Lady Egremont who said it was a privilege to be asked to judge entries which were committed to helping communities in new, exciting and enterprising ways.