A COMMUNITY project has welcomed the Government's budget announcement of £150m to help residents buy vital local facilities like village stores.

Kirkoswald Community Shop Ltd has been set up to buy the premises on Bridge Street, currently known as Ravenbridge Stores, with more than £118,000 already pledged.

In the coming weeks it's also looking to start a share offer scheme to raise more towards its target of £250,000.

The project's supported by parish, district and county councillors as well as Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and the Border.

Chair of the group Ruth Anderson, MBE, said: "It's heartening to hear the Community Ownership Fund has been set up to help local communities keep vital services alive.
"We do not know the full details of the scheme yet, it is early days. 

"However, we shall be looking at it very carefully to see if our project can benefit. 
"This will I am sure be a shot in the arm for many communities."

"The shop has been open for as long as people can remember, and is well used by locals and visitors alike.

"In 2010, the premises were bought by a local bene-factor, David Hodgkiss, and has been run with a manager and a band of volunteers.

"David’s untimely death last year, due to Covid-19, has led the owners to put the premises on the market."
The team's been given the OK from the Financial Conduct Authority to form a Community Benefit Society to sell shares to raise the capital needed to buy the store.

For information go to @kirkoswald.ok on Facebook.