Community to buy village shop and post office

Tills will keep ringing in Yetholm after the community was awarded a £114,000 grant from the Scottish Land Fund to buy the village shop.

By Kirsty Smyth
Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 12:36 pm
Yetholm Community Shop Limited committee members Graeme Wallace, chairman Alastair Hirst and shop manager Janice Gillies at Yetholm Village shop.
Yetholm Community Shop Limited committee members Graeme Wallace, chairman Alastair Hirst and shop manager Janice Gillies at Yetholm Village shop.

Concerns were raised over the future of Yetholm Village Shop and Post Office, considered a vital part of village life, when the current owners revealed a wish to retire.

The idea of a community buy-out was mooted last year, and following extensive research and the commissioning of a social enterprise business plan, Yetholm Community Shop Limited was established.

Now the shop is about to pass into community hands after it was given a £114,000 share of £1,667,987, awarded to 21 projects across the country from the Scotland Land Fund last month.

Alastair Hirst, chairman of Yetholm Community Shop Limited, said: “We are delighted with the decision of the Scottish Land Fund to support the community buy-out project for our village shop and Post Office.   

“The Village Shop and Post Office is a well-established and central part of daily life in the Yetholm villages and surrounding district. It is a high-value economic and social asset in the community.

“This is the first, and most important, step in our fund-raising effort, and it will open the way to securing the further funding we need in order to acquire, repair, re-fit and recapitalise the shop enterprise and maintain it in being for future years as a vital centre of village life.”

However, with plans to renovate and reconfigure the shop and increase the range of goods and services available expected to cost £272,000 – including the purchase of the premises – more funds are needed.

The society now needs to raise the rest of the money to refurbish and revitalise the business and is turning to the wider community to get involved with the official launch of its share scheme next week.

Expressions of interest in donating to Yetholm Village Shop Limited or investing in shares sought earlier this year suggested some £120,000 could be raised this way.

“Other grant funding is not easy to find in current circumstances, so a major part of the further funding needed will have to come from the local community itself and wider Yetholm connections,” Mr Hirst added.

“The management committee is counting on the local and wider community to respond generously to the share offer, and make this buy-out a successful example of community empowerment.”

Supporters are now being invited to buy shares in the society, with a formal share offer set to open on Monday, October 26 and run until Saturday, November 21.

Each share has a nominal value of £25, and no single investor may acquire more than 500 shares.

In line with social enterprise guides, each shareholder will have only one vote in the society’s general meetings, regardless of the number of shares he or she holds.

The share offer prospectus, and application forms, will be distributed throughout Yetholm and will be available on the village shop page at www.yetholmonline.com