Village shop saved after community becomes the owner in a first for Fife

Dunshalt secures community ownership of local store
Dunshalt secures community ownership of local store

The residents of a Fife village have come together to save their local shop.

The village of Dunshalt has beat its target of selling 30,000 shares of £1 in the village shop with 199 people, plus 26 junior members, pitching in to raise £31,770.

It is now the first village shop in Fife to be in community ownership.

The Community Share Ownership model has been used in other parts of Scotland to save rural pubs and shops, but this is the first time it has happened in Fife.

Eleanor Porter, chairman of the Dunshalt Community Shop Steering Group, said: “We are so proud that the people of Dunshalt and supporters from other parts of Fife and even as far away as Cheltenham and Inverness, have got involved with this campaign and have stepped up by investing in the shop.

“We always thought it would be a stretch for such a small village to raise £30,000 but the fact we have beaten that target in just over two months just shows how much our village wants and needs a shop. Before it closed it was the glue that held 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.”

The money raised through the Community Share Issue will support funds that have already been received from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF)and other funding bodies to get the shop up and running.

The £97,500 award from the SLF secured the building for the community and will kickstart the renovation work, which it is hoped will begin on the derelict shop building later this year.

Dunshalt Community Shop is a Community Benefit Society. The term ‘community shares’ refers to withdrawable share capital; a form of share capital unique to co-operative and community benefit societies, and are designed to save local shops and pubs, support local food growing, and basically benefit local communities.