Penicuik Storehouse share scheme success

Penicuik Community Alliance chairman Roger Kelly says thank you.

Penicuik Community Alliance chairman Roger Kelly says thank you.

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Members of a Penicuik community group are celebrating after a share scheme reached its minimum target ahead of its deadline.

More than 3580 £25 shares in the Penicuik Storehouse project were bought by almost 600 people before the end of March.

The plans are to transform the former Nickel and Dime premises in the High Street into a bakery, cafe, indoor market and social supermarket with community meeting space.

Penicuik Community Alliance chairman Roger Kelly said: “The Storehouse has reached its £82,000 target and a couple of days ahead of the deadline. We are powering on through, onwards and upwards.

“We are very, very pleased. It really has been a runaway success in just the last week. Once Penicuik got behind it, it started to move.

“The further it goes beyond the minimum target the less money we will have to borrow.

“We have been offered a £100,000 underwriting loan and won’t need to draw that if we can collect more.”

Mr Kelly said it was good to know there was strong public support: “It was clear right at the outset when people were prepared to back us through the community share scheme. Then it became clear that right across Penicuik there are folk who want this to happen and want to see it happen.”

The community alliance will now begin work on the vacant building ahead of a summer opening.

Mr Kelly continued: “We could take the full amount of government grant given to us and have already planned every cent of that. We have satisfied the Scottish government with our firm proposals to spend that money.

“We need money to make the Storehouse ready for opening. We don’t know when that will be. We have to get a building warrant and we are confident there will be no difficulties on that score from our discussions so far.

“Work has been carried out to a certain extent internally – clearing junk and removing things that are no longer needed. We have stripped back most of the walls to give us a little bit more space and this has revealed windows some of which we will be able to open up.”

Rebecca McKinney from Social Enterprise Alliance Midlothian, said: “SEAM has supported the Penicuik Storehouse since the start of the project. We have given them assistance with the funding application to the Town Centre Community Capital Fund, and helped them to promote their share offer.

“We are thrilled that they have reached their ‘green light’ sum and will continue to work with the project to see it open for business.”