Share offer aims to save village shop


A community share offer has been launched to save a village shop in Argyll.

The shop at Innellan serves the southern part of the Cowal peninsula. The group planning to run it hopes to raise £60,000.

Individual shareholdings of between £10 and £6,000 will be allowed, with every shareholder having an equal vote.

South Cowal Community Enterprises (SCCE) said local residents believe the shop's closure would be a "disaster".

The shop, called The Lido, is several miles south of Dunoon. Its supporters have said it saves many people a lengthy journey to buy essential supplies.

In addition to the community shares offer, SCCE has applied to the Scottish Land Fund for a grant to buy the shop premises.

Closure 'disaster'

SCCE chairwoman Linsay Chalmers said: "It's a 34-mile round trip to Dunoon via Loch Striven for some locals if we want to go shopping for vital supplies, if this shop closed.

"In a survey 98% of local people were in favour of keeping a shop here, and 64% thought it would be a disaster if it were to close."

Plans for the project include creating bunkhouse accommodation in the flat above the shop and a meeting place for local people.

Ms Chalmers added: "The post office facility is in effect our local bank in many ways, as post offices can conduct many banking operations for many different banks, and our local pottery and other businesses rely on the Royal Mail for delivering their sales."

A condition of the share offer is that 51% of the investors have to be local residents.

Advice on the project has been provided by Community Shares Scotland (CSS).

Distillery project

It has seen £12m raised by communities for a variety of projects during its first three years of operation, with many success stories.

CSS manager James Proctor said: "When Glenwyvis Distillery in Dingwall raised over £2.5m from community shares, their 2,441 members came from 30 different countries around the world."

CSS receives funding from the Big Lottery Fund Scotland and the Scottish government.

Other community shop projects include Dig-In, based in Edinburgh's Bruntsfield.

"Shareholders at Dig-In tell us that what's come out of the community shares model for them is more valuable than any profit you can get on a share because it's created a community," Mr Proctor added.

The community shares model has also been used to support renewable energy projects, community centres and pubs.

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