Theatre plays a major role in opening of the Forge

AN HISTORIC moment for Slindon will create an unexpected legacy.

Slindon Forge has opened its doors for the first time this week and materials from Chichester Festival Theatre’s temporary structure, the Theatre on the Fly, have played a vital part.

Scaffolding boards from the structure have been recycled by people with learning disabilities at the Aldingbourne Trust to be used as shelving in the new café and shop which opened on Tuesday.

The Forge project is a community-driven response to the decline in village amenities that in recent years has seen the closure of a previous shop, a pub and the post-office.

Mike Imms, a director of The Forge Society, said: “This is a wonderful bonus for us since the whole Forge project is about regeneration and community.

“Not only has it enabled the Aldingbourne Trust on the outskirts of the village to get involved, but we are recycling materials that have already contributed to the entertainment of many in our community during this summer.

“Our new shop and café has been very busy, there are lots of happy people!

“We hope that these shelves will generate sales as dramatic as their previous life.”

The historically important but rundown building, which is thought to be about 140 years old, is situated between the village hall and a recently-planted community orchard.

Tim Hoare, director of Fred’s Diner at Theatre on the Fly, said: “One of the most exciting aspects of our temporary pop-up theatre space was the various ways that it engaged with our community, from the volunteers to the supportive businesses.

“We are delighted we’ve been able to extend the life of Theatre on the Fly in a sustainable way through recycling the wood used in the theatre build. We wish Slindon the very best with their new community initiative.”

The cafe has also obtained a licence to sell alcohol, and locally-brewed beer named after Slindon’s old pubs will be available.