Village hub plan after shop shuts

Jane Cryan, Pam Manton, Beccy Murrell (Plunkett Foundation Adviser) and Christine Shannon.
Jane Cryan, Pam Manton, Beccy Murrell (Plunkett Foundation Adviser) and Christine Shannon.

When the village of Arkholme lost its only shop in July, residents decided to take matters into their own hands.

A small yet driven committee was formed, and members set about working on the foundations of a community owned, community run shop and cafe.

Crossroads Garage in Arkholme

Crossroads Garage in Arkholme

Committee member Pam Manton said the goal was to purchase the former Crossroads Garage in Kirkby Lonsdale Road and turn it into a destination community hub - with a Post Office, internet cafe, and shop selling groceries and newspapers.

The committee now needs to raise between £120-140,00 to turn their dreams into a reality.

An application for £50,000 from a developer which is due to start building houses in the village fell through due to legal issues, but Pam remains confident they can raise the money.

Now the committee is just about to launch a community share issue, and aims to have the shop up and running by early summer 2015.

She said: “We’ve done a lot of market research about how much the village has missed the village shop.

“We’ve put the technical bits in place and set up a Community Benefits Society, which is a co-operative run for the mutual benefit of members who use its services.

“It will be run by volunteers and we’re hoping to turn it into a destination shop. We’re also hoping to bring the Post Office back, which is currently an outreach centre in the Village Hall.”

Pam said that the shop would employ one full-time member of staff to coordinate the volunteers and would have flexible opening times.

She added: “We’re hoping to stagger the opening times for when people go to work in the morning and come back from work in the afternoon.

“It’s all about what the village demand is. It’s very exciting.”