First class fundraising to reopen Findon's post office

The sudden closure of Findon village's post office has prompted the community to rally together.

Tuesday, 20th June 2017, 11:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th June 2017, 3:53 pm
Frankie Kornicki, Findon's centenarian, with the percentage thermometer indicating the 48 per cent raised so far. Picture: Bob Eastabrook

When the village shop and post office shut out of the blue at the end of May, residents were left without a convenience store closer than Findon Valley.

But after a public meeting last week, villagers banded together to raise money to buy the store as a community venture, which is being sold at auction at the end of June.

Chairman of Findon Parish Council Peter Goldsworthy, who led the discussion, said: “The shop was shut without warning to staff or the Post Office or anybody in the village.

“It has had a massive effect, particularly for the very large population of elderly residents that we have here.

“Any rural village with a population of 2,000 without a post office and convenience store is severely disabled.

“Everybody now has to go down into Findon Valley to even collect a newspaper.”

The Horsham Road store has an auction guide price of between £325,000 and £350,000, the council said.

Residents are being offered the chance to buy shares in the store at £1,000 each.

All investments need to be received by Friday, in order for the funds to be fully cleared and available in time for the auction on June 30.

On Monday Mr Goldsworthy said almost 75 per cent of the target had been raised, though the exact figure is being kept under wraps ahead of the auction.

He said: “It’s going very well, everything’s in place.

“It has been a huge, very credible response from the whole of the village.

“I am pretty confident that by auction day we will be in good shape, a hell of an achievement because we were only given two weeks for what is a lot for a small village.”

The project received an immediate boost when the Post Office quickly agreed to reissue the license for the store to operate as a post office if the community buyout succeeds.

This is expected to bring in as much as £20,000 in revenue a year.

The store would be staffed by a combination of four qualified counter staff and volunteers, according to Mr Goldsworthy.

Investment forms are on the Findon Village website.

A giant thermometer built by ‘Men in Sheds’ has been set up in the centre of the village to allow residents to track the fundraising progress.