Community-led group targets summer reopening of Lesbury shop

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Community efforts to reopen a village shop could see it back up and running by the summer.

Lesbury Shop and Post Office has been closed since the retirement of postmaster Jill Le Marquand last September.

It left residents of Lesbury, Hipsburn, Bilton and the wider community without a local shop.

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However, a group of residents formed a management committee with a view to reopening the shop as a community business.

Lesbury shop.Lesbury shop.
Lesbury shop.

The shop was registered as a Community Benefit Society which will enable any surplus funds to be channelled back into the community.

A public meeting was recently held to gauge the level of support for the plan and to launch details of a share offer.

A committee spokesman said: “After a number of consultations with residents, the group were confident that the shop would be viable as a going concern provided that sufficient funds could be raised and sufficient volunteers could be recruited to enable start up and day-to-day running. The target date for reopening is currently summer 2023.

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"The group have applied for a number of grants and are currently in the middle of a share issue. Although a determined volunteer recruitment drive has been launched, the group are still in need of volunteers."

The existing premises will require some repairs and improvement prior to opening and Northumberland Estates are undertaking some of these now.

Subject to volunteer availability, it is hoped that the shop will open most days of the week.

While it is unlikely the Post Office banking facility will reopen in the short term because of necessary staff training, it is anticipated the shop would sell newspapers and local supplies.

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And although not yet open for business, the group has already started making newspapers available to order, with the help and support of Alnmouth Post Office & Shop.

Newspapers are collected early in the morning from Alnmouth by volunteers and placed for collection in Lesbury Church vestibule. The group hopes to resume home delivery of newspapers as the shop development progresses.

A mobile post office offered by the Alnwick postmaster now visits the village at the car park by the riverside every Friday.

Full details of the share issue, volunteering, and proposed shop details can be found at www.lesburyshop.co.uk.

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