AFTER months of preparation, work has begun on the first phase to expand Broughton Village Store.

The ambitious expansion is part of a project by the Upper Tweed Community Enterprise (UTCE) and will see the shop take over the garden space behind the premises.

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Christopher Lambton, chairman of the UTCE, said: "The current work does not actually involve the shop premises, but is focussed on altering the cottage annexed to the Village Hall, so that this space can serve as a temporary shop during the main building project, which is expected to start later this year, and to take approximately six months.

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"Contractors McCann of Biggar are hard at work creating a single large space from two smaller rooms.

"This has involved the installation of a large supporting steel beam, rebuilding a sagging ceiling, and damp-proofing some of the exterior walls.

"Looking further into the future, this will create a viable new space for meetings, exhibitions, and other community uses which can be returned to the Village Hall after the temporary shop has moved out.

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"The alterations to the cottage have been made possible by generous funding from SSE Clyde Borders wind farm."

Members of the public and shareholders in UTCE Ltd will have an opportunity to inspect these building works at the launch of UTCE’s 2nd 'Share Issue' on Thursday, March 23 at 7pm in the Village Hall and Cottage.

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Mr Lambton added: "The initial share issue in 2019 raised some £66,000 from 255 shareholders, which provided crucial capital to underwrite the purchase of the village shop for the community.

"This 2nd share issue will raise further capital to form part of the funding matrix that will allow the work to go ahead on the new extension to the shop. The share issue also has a secondary objective, which is to demonstrate to our funders that the shop has the full support of the community.

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"Individual investors are encouraged, even if they buy only one share at £25, it will make a difference.

"The full share offer prospectus will be available in the next few days from Broughton Village Store or for download from our website, complete with business projections and all the small print.

"In the near future residents will start to see posters, fliers, signs and banners encouraging the purchase of shares, which will be possible on line, by post, or in person at our event on March 23.

"The most up to date information will always be available on the shop website"