Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 10:52 UK

Villagers take over post office

Post box
Villagers formed a co-operative and reopened their shop and post office

Villagers in Kent who lost their shop and post office last year have raised £40,000 and reopened the business.

Residents in Barham, near Canterbury, formed a co-operative and reopened the shop as a not-for-profit organisation.

The shop is being run by a group of volunteers with just one employee, a post master, so the business can function as a post office.

All funds raised by the business are being put back into the co-operative, Kent County Council (KCC) said.

Nailbourne Community Shop, which is based in Barham village hall, is the fifth such shop to have opened in the county.

It's something special to be able to put back the heart in your community
Councillor Kevin Lynes

Community shop chairwoman Liz Minter said it showed what could be done by individuals with a common purpose.

"We took up the challenge in Barham and now the shop is open it makes all the effort worthwhile," she said.

Councillor Kevin Lynes said the residents were to be applauded.

"It's something special to be able to put back the heart in your community," he added.

He said the shop had given Barham a community focal point in the village centre, where people could walk to easily, meet neighbours, buy basic provisions, find out what was happening in the area, and use post office services.

The project had grant aid from the Rural Access to Services programme.

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