Fairlight store could be saved by community

SUS-150302-104912001
SUS-150302-104912001

An action plan is being drawn up which could see villagers buying shares in Fairlight Post Office and Stores to save it from closing.

A survey went out in the village last autumn after news that the facility could close when the current owners step-down.

Concerned villagers are being helped by social enterprise group Economic Change to take over the running of the Post Office and shop.

Heather Black, from the group, said: “We are looking for individuals and businesses to buy community shares in Fairlight Village Shop Ltd. One share costs £10.

“Fairlight is a retirement village, with a significant proportion of older aged community (43% aged over 65) and 30% living in one person households. This target group tend to rely on our local Post Office and Shop for their weekly banking and provisions.

“Fairlight Village Shop Ltd, a registered Community Benefit Society, has been set up with the intention of acquiring Fairlight Post Office and Shop and to run it as a sustainable venture by the community for the community.

“Fairlight Post Office and Shop has been established for 90 years and has been for sale for two years as the current owners want to retire.

“Succession strategies for local convenience stores and Post Offices are proving to be a challenge, with the recent closure of the main Pett Post Office and Ore Post Office also up for sale. This is a common challenge for small shops, and we have been working with The Plunkett Foundation, the leading national support agency for Community Shop initiatives, to help shape and develop a sustainable business model for our local shop.

“Community shops have a 95% success rate compared to small businesses at 45% over a 3 year period. The vision is that the Shop will offer a range of products and services as well as a community hub for social interaction and support. The business strategy has been influenced and supported by over 200 residents in the local village.”