Over the past 10 years the Slindon shop, Post Office and one pub have closed.
As a direct consequence the ‘sustainability’ of the community has declined (in direct contradiction to community wishes, and the ambitions and policy of central and local government, and a whole host of interested bodies).
- As measured by Communities Agency Indices of Multiple Deprivation, Slindon is in the bottom 6% of communities in the country, in terms of Access to Essential Services.
- The desire for a village shop is a long-standing community wish and supported during a community consultation exercise about the Forge plans.
Benefits of having The Forge
The Forge offers us all three different beneficial elements:
- Provision of essential services for villagers and nearby communities
- Heritage provision – repair, protection and restoration of a high-profile, historically important but run down village building; and providing public access to and information about a traditional village forge.
- Provision of visitor facilities (especially important in the light of the new National Park, but also of value to those across West Sussex who use Slindon woods and the Downs for recreation, dog walking etc.).
The location of the Forge within the village is a further crucial element. It is an attractive and accessible setting in its own right – but in addition its adjacency to the village Hall, primary school, stopping points for the village bus and library van etc. have made this into a new village hub.
The existence of the facilities should act as an ‘enabler’ for a range of other potential community initiatives such as a stimulus for new businesses, an access point for potential ‘outreach’ services by local authority, primary care trust, other bodies etc.