People living in and around Kirkoswald are being asked to dig just a little bit deeper to help save their popular village shop from closure.
A group was formed last year to raise money to buy and run the small but thoughtfully stocked and well-used Ravenbridge Stores, after it emerged the owner wanted to sell the premises.
It was estimated as much as £250,000 might be needed, although a significantly lower sum might be sufficient if support grants can be obtained.
There is also a flat above the shop, which might be rented out or sold off.
By this week, 90 pledges, totalling £96,000 had been received by the group.
The deadline for pledges has now been extended to mid-February, since COVID-19 restrictions have made publicity and the distribution of leaflets and documents relating to the appeal more difficult — hence the call for a final effort.
Steering group member Ruth Anderson said: “We are asking everybody to get behind this really worthwhile project.
“The shop has been a lifeline to people during the pandemic and we are determined to see it continue.”
The group is in the process of forming a community benefit society to purchase the shop and then run it essentially as it has been in recent years, with volunteers playing a crucial role in its day-to-day operation.
Investment in the society will be in the form of shares, and each shareholder will have a single vote at general meetings of the society, regardless of the amount contributed.
Any profits made by the shop — unlikely to be large — will be used to support good causes in the area.
The effort has received the backing of Kirkoswald Parish Council, the chairwoman of which, Sue Quinn, said: “The parish council believes the shop to be of great importance to the village — in fact essential for the whole parish.
“It does not bear thinking about the shop having to close. The village and the whole parish would be so impoverished by that action.
“I and all the parish council are most grateful for the work of those people fighting to save our shop.”
Anybody wanting to become a shareholder can make a pledge through the shop website at www.ravenbridgestores.co.uk or by calling Ruth Anderson on 01768 898185.