VILLAGERS are calling on the community to help keep their local shop going.

Directors of Slaley Community Shop Ltd were due to hold a meeting last night to launch a community share offer to purchase the store which volunteers have run for the past two years.

The community took over the running of the shop when long-term owners Margaret and Roy Ward retired in May 2017.

Local residents have operated through a Community Benefit Society which allowed the Wards to rent the property to members with an option to purchase at any time within a three-year period.

The volunteers now have one year left to raise the remainder of the agreed purchase price of £200,000 to ensure the shop remains open.

Director Helen Savage, secretary of Slaley Community Shop Ltd, said: “We must now secure the shop for future generations by exercising our option to purchase it. We plan to do this through the share offer. If we do not succeed in raising the money, all the immense hard work of the past two years will be lost and the shop will close.”

A similar share offer proved successful in saving village pub, the Rose and Crown, from closure back in 2013.