FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Almost as soon as the second, Rose & Crown project was completed, the adjoining yard, containing the old village glove factory and a long barn converted into a private house, came on the market due to the failure of its occupant's silk-screen printing business. One of the trustees increased the mortgage on his own home, raised a new bank loan and several other smaller ones, plus a Rural Development Commission grant for workspace creation.

The long barn was then divided into three units: a two-bed house, a one-bed one and a new home for the village Post Office with studio flat over and a photocopying service room beside it. The factory was let to an electronics company. This was then managed for 10 years without taking any profit, devoting all rents to clearing borrowed monies. The whole place was re-named Glover's Yard, and has become the heart of the village, alive with children and parents.

When the bank mortgage had been sufficiently reduced for its charge to be cleared, the factory was converted to purpose-equipped premises for the village Pre-School and gifted to the Community Trust. The Pre-school had hitherto been existing in a rented room in the Village Hall, where they had to clear away equipment after each session, and OFSTED disapproved because toilets were round the corner out of sight, and difficult to supervise. With its own little play garden, and a gate giving direct access to the Primary school across the High Street, the Pre-school is now thriving, has just received an 'A' rating from OFSTED, and is running three sessions a day, including breakfast and after-school.

Then in 1996, Alan Hodgkinson, one of the original founding trustees died, bequeathing his three-bedroom home, Hillcrest, to the Trust, with the stipulation that the adjoining plot should be kept as a nature reserve, not built upon.

Quite early in the history of the Trust, it invited village residents to sponsor a tree for their child or grandchild. With 50% subsidy from the District Council, this cost £2.50 per tree. Some 68 beeches, ashes, maples and white cherries now line the hedges on the 3-mile road across farmland leading in to the village from the A44.

Fifteen years down the line, more than half of its loans having now been cleared, the Community Trust has got to a financial position where it has been able to take over the Post Office and the two-bed house: so it has increased its housing stock to 15 dwellings, with additional inputs to social services via Pre-school and Post Office.

It is now looking at improving Youth services in the village, and maybe giving Individual Learning Account support to local youngsters doing apprenticeships or further education.