Residents in ‘Save Our Shop’ plea

Local children help launch the share offer for Dunshalt Community Shop.
Local children help launch the share offer for Dunshalt Community Shop.

Fife residents are being asked to dig deep to help save a community shop.

People living in Dunshalt have until June 30 to raise £30,000 through a shop share issue, the first time a Fife village has risen to the challenge of saving its only shop by putting it into community ownership.

Villagers were able to buy the derelict shop building in February with a grant from the Scottish Land Fund. The £97,500 award secured the building for the community and will kickstart the renovation work.

But the re-opening of the shop will rely on the success of the community share issue to fund the refitting and restocking of the shop, which has lain empty for two years.

Eleanor Porter, chair of the Dunshalt Community Shop Steering Group, said: “When the shop closed in May 2016, Dunshalt lost its only shop and, more importantly, the glue that kept the community together.

“There is no pub, school or church in the village and, when the shop went, the community lost the only place where people bumped into each other and shared their news. Villagers with cars now rely on them to buy basics and those that are dependent on public transport are often waiting for two hours or more to get back from nearby towns, even if all they need are a few basics.

“Bringing a shop back to the village as community-owned hub is an exciting prospect – not least because it is a first for Fife. But, for it to work, we would need as much support as we can get. We hope that everyone living in the village and others interested in investing in this socially-minded enterprise will invest during this share issue as without strong community support we cannot move forward with the project.”

The plan has the backing of Stephen Gethins MP and Willie Rennie MSP.

Mr Gethins said: “It is very important that rural communities like Dunshalt have a central focus where people can meet and feel connected with their village. For these small villages to thrive people need to be able to have straightforward access to buying groceries and vital postal and banking services. The Dunshalt Community Shop will not only be a real asset to Dunshalt but also to the wider Fife community.”

Information is being provided at the shop this weekend, from 10am to 5pm.

To download a brochure and make an application to buy shares, go to www.dunshaltshop.co.uk