A COMMUNITY is aiming to save its ironmongers by buying the shop themselves.

Havards has been an institution in Newport, Pembrokeshire for more than 140 years.

It opened in the town's East Street as a traditional ironmonger 1881 and today occupies the same site, selling a wide range of everyday items including hand tools, nails and screws, key cutting, cookware and crockery, gardening equipment, outdoor clothing, walking boots and wet suits.

But when it was placed on the market earlier this year locals rallied round to save the shop, to safeguard the service it provides and what they see as an important part of the town remaining self-sufficient.

They launched a share offer to allow the community to own the shop, and that is due to close a week today on Wednesday, August 31.

A total of £367,600 has now been received in the bank, with 267 members having invested.

Some have also increased their original purchase to bring the average investment per member to £1,376.

Outright purchase with stock transfer and working capital is the final aim, so campaigners are launching a final push for the remaining £107,400 to the end of August.

Campaign chair Clive Hooper reminded those who attended the recent public meeting that shares could be gifted to other family members; children, grandchildren, spouse/civil partner.

“It is an excellent gift for people to actually part-own an ironmonger shop!” he said.

The project has just submitted a grant application to the Community Ownership Fund, with over 200 hours volunteered by the committee members this month in putting the submission together for the grant fund.

“A big thanks to the businesses and organisations that have sent letters of support – the final document was submitted by August 19,” said a Siop Havards Project spokesperson.

“If successful, this would allow the project to immediately progress with capital works on the shop.”

Another public meeting will be held at the Newport Boat Club next Tuesday (August 30; 6.30pm) to update members and potential investors and answer any queries on the eve of the share purchase closing.

Hard copies of the share documents and forms are available at Havards counter and online at the siophavards website.