How the only shop on a Scottish island was saved with help of second home owners

The shop and post office on Lismore, which has a population of around 160, struggled to attract a new buyer until the community stepped in.

The only shop and post office on a Scottish island will stay open after a community raised money to buy the store.

More than £80,000 was raised on the island of Lismore after a share offer was launched early last month. The shop was facing closure after its last owner, a schoolteacher, decided to return to her profession.

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Eilean Musdile lighthouse on the isle of Lismore in the Inner Hebrides. The only shop and post office on the island - which has a population of around 160 - has been saved after the community bought out the store. PIC: Eugene Birchall /geograph.org.Eilean Musdile lighthouse on the isle of Lismore in the Inner Hebrides. The only shop and post office on the island - which has a population of around 160 - has been saved after the community bought out the store. PIC: Eugene Birchall /geograph.org.
Eilean Musdile lighthouse on the isle of Lismore in the Inner Hebrides. The only shop and post office on the island - which has a population of around 160 - has been saved after the community bought out the store. PIC: Eugene Birchall /geograph.org.
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Permanent residents, visitors and holiday home owners helped to raise the money required, with hopes to build bigger premises in the future. Andy Hough, chair of Lismore Community Trust (LCT), said the shop would sell a good range of goods for both islanders and visitors – from duct tape, to local food and drink and crafts.

Mr Hough said: “We are very pleased. There was no buyer coming forward, so we proposed the idea of a community-owned shop. While people might have preferred the idea of a private buyer, people came around to the idea. The only way of saving it was to go down the community ownership route. We would hate to have seen it gone – it would have closed otherwise. It would have been a slippery slope.

"The shop has a key function on the island. There are people here who are relatively isolated and some people like going down to the shop for the craic. When they come through the door, they will tend to buy something like a loaf of bread or a pint of milk. The shop and post office are an essential part of island life.”

Islanders celebrate the buyout of their only store on Lismore in the Inner Hebrides. PIC: Contributed.Islanders celebrate the buyout of their only store on Lismore in the Inner Hebrides. PIC: Contributed.
Islanders celebrate the buyout of their only store on Lismore in the Inner Hebrides. PIC: Contributed.

The share issue campaign by the LCT attracted over 230 backers and more than £80,000.

Mr Hough said the trust received a couple of “quite significant” individual contributions as well as residents buying up shares.

He said: “We were also impressed by the number of people who come to the islands for holidays who supported us, including second home owners.The important thing is the wide range of people who feel that the shop is important.”

A manager has now been appointed by the trust, with a member of staff who previously worked at the shop also now in place. A team of volunteers will help run the business.

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