Broughton community store takeover bid receives £90,000 boost

Broughton village store after it closed last March.
Broughton village store after it closed last March.

Villagers hoping to re-open their local store almost a year after it closed, have received a funding boost of £90,000 this week.

Upper Tweed Community Enterprise received that cash from the Scottish Land Fund, which supports communities to buy land and buildings.

The group will put the money towards the purchase of the village store in Broughton, which closed last March after owner Rani Jolly retired, to run as a community enterprise.

Group chairman Christopher Lambton said: “It is not just the board but the entire local community that will rejoice to know that we have secured such a generous grant award from the Scottish Land Fund.

“Securing this support was always a key part of our strategy, so it is not just the money but the implied vote of confidence in our collective vision that will bring the dream of a renewed and revitalised village shop closer to reality.

“The sum awarded includes a substantial contribution towards the purchase of the shop and also includes ring fenced funding for a staff position and essential repairs.”

The shop’s closure resulted in the loss of five jobs and left villagers with a 12 mile round trip to Peebles for basic provisions.

A total of £66,500 of the grant money can be used towards the purchase of the store, which has been agreed at £80,000.

The remainder will be used for building repairs and the appointment of a shop development manager.

“There’s definitely an appetite for the shop to reopen,” Mr Lambton added. “We had one of the biggest public meetings ever held in Broughton when we started this campaign.

“On behalf of the hard-working board and our consultant Sandra Macaskill I can attest that throughout the application process we have received unstinting support and encouragement, which is deeply appreciated.

One further funding application and a community share scheme, being launched next month, look set to help the group raise the remaining £13,500 need to purchase the shop.

Borders MSP Christine Grahame added: “Having a shop ran locally by the community will make a real difference to locals in Broughton and make life a bit easier.

“I hope the success of Upper Tweed Community Enterprise will encourage others in the Borders to consider how community ownership could benefit them.”

It is one of seven groups across Scotland sharing in £706,126 from the fund.

John Watt, Scottish Land Fund committee chairman, added: “The successful projects all share a vision for strengthening their communities and have identified key assets that will enable them to start delivering on their plans. Through the Scottish Land Fund, towns and villages across Scotland are receiving the backing they need to make a real difference in their local areas through bringing land and buildings into community ownership and putting them to good use.”