VILLAGERS have sent out an SOS to prevent their popular shop from closing.

Residents of Slaley last week launched a share offer scheme inviting people to invest in a project aimed at raising the remainder of the £200,000 required to purchase Slaley Village Shop.

When long-term owners Roy and Margaret Ward retired in April 2017 after 50 years, the community rallied and took on the daily running of the shop.

A co-operative group, Slaley Community Shop Limited, was formed and it agreed to buy the business from the Wards within three years at a cost of £200,000, minus the rent accumulated over that period. If the total isn’t reached, the shop will close in March.

With less than a year to go, the group has launched the scheme inviting people to become shareholders by investing in the business. A similar venture saved the village’s Rose and Crown pub in 2013.

Helen Savage, secretary of Slaley Community Shop Ltd, said: “The volunteers have done an incredible job over the past two years, and the place has been a roaring success.

“Because we’re run entirely by volunteers, we have made an operating profit of £11,000 a year, and we’ve converted the space upstairs for social housing. We are now in a position where we need to find the extra money to buy the whole place otherwise we will lose it, and everybody would be devastated as this has become such a centre for the whole community.

“It’s a community hub in the best sense of the word because people come here for all the latest craic.”

The minimum stakeholding amount is £500 and the maximum is £30,000. Anyone interested in investing in the scheme can pick up a prospectus from the store, or visit