Partners needed for £2.5 million Sussex craft and heritage centre project in Hassocks

The �2.5 million pound Sussex craft and heritage centre is due to open late 2015

The �2.5 million pound Sussex craft and heritage centre is due to open late 2015

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The search has begun to find commercial craft partners and craftsmen and women in the county who want to get involved in the new £2.5 million pound Sussex craft and heritage centre project in Hassocks.

The first phase at the South Downs Heritage Centre and Nurseries incorporates a new coffee shop with state of the art kitchen and a fruit, herb and vegetable garden to provide fresh, seasonal produce for the menus.

Project coordinator Sarah Tate said: “Once the new restaurant is open, the existing coffee shop building will be demolished to provide space for a unique traditional craft centre and learning facility to be constructed”,

Due to open late 2015, there will be unique opportunities for classes, workshops and demonstrations of a wide range of local crafts.

Sarah and her team are now busy looking for potential partners.

“We have a blank canvas at the moment, and an open mind”, she added.

“We’re keen to talk to anyone who might be able to take space in the new building and help our education programme, everything from a blacksmith and artisan baker, to a soap maker, chocolatier and wood-turner.”

The original coffee shop, currently used as a staff training centre, will also be converted to provide short courses for children and adults in a wide variety of craft skills where partners will be able to share their skills and pass on traditional trades and crafts to the next generation.

“This might include anything from pottery, sculpture, blacksmithing and metalworking to more hobby crafts such as jewellery making, painting, textiles, picture framing or even glass-blowing. We are currently in the internal design stage so we can provide a wide range of facilities for the right partner,” Sarah explained.

The 1500 square metre building is being constructed from restoration-grade oak, fashioned by hand in a traditional workshop by a team of master carpenters in the vernacular style of a Sussex barn.

Once developed, it is hoped that the craft project can be converted into a Community Interest Company for the benefit of the local community, with a combination of commercial craft concessions to anchor the development, working alongside other non-commercial craft groups and charities.

For more details contact Sarah Tate on 07972 157585 or

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