Mid-Devon faced losing its only independent bookshop after the owner decided to retire after 30 years running the shop in Crediton. But tonight it will be given a new life after determined residents launch a community share issue in a bid to save the shop.
The Crediton Community Bookshop has been set up with support from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub and hopes to raise £33,000 through its share issue to help bring the store into community-ownership.
It costs from £20 to co-own the store and Ken McKechnie, the committee chairman, said: "We believe that the energy and enthusiasm of booklovers, volunteers, visitors to the area and the wider community will secure this popular store for the next generation of readers and writers."
They've already persuaded the current owner, Jill Holden, to return as manager and the launch event – featuring readings from local authors – will take place at the bookshop in Crediton tonight between 4 and 8pm.
The move is the latest in a growing trend for communities to take over valued local amenities themselves, with pubs and post offices being saved across the country. There's been a near 10 per cent increase in UK co-operative enterprises – climbing to almost 6,000 last year.
Michael Fairclough, the Co-op's head of community investment, said: "Communities are driven by needs other than to maximise profit. They are concerned for accountability, transparency and sustainability."