A pledge campaign has been launched to allow a post office and village shop in Suffolk to continue after its future was put at risk.

The Post Office and Shop in Hoxne, around seven miles from Harleston, was threatened with closure last year when postmistress Joan Retallack announced she was retiring after half a decade.

The community then rallied to create a campaign group to save the village hub.

Now, a pledge campaign has been launched to gauge who would be willing to invest in the plans, to make a stronger bid for government funding.

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The Community Ownership Fund helps groups take ownership of assets at risk of being lost to the community. 

The shop will be run on a community shop model, set up by residents for the benefit of the community.

The cost of one share will be £15 to be paid when the shares are offered in June, and no matter how many shares a person purchases, they all have the same say in the business.

East Anglian Daily Times: Postmistress Joan Retallack is retiring.Postmistress Joan Retallack is retiring. (Image: Charlotte Bond)

One of the most requested changes would be the shop selling fruit and vegetables, which it currently does not offer, along with fresh bread, which the group is seeking to arrange with suppliers.

There are also plans for renovations to the shop, along with providing people with volunteering opportunities and young people with their first jobs.

They are also aiming to extend the opening hours of the shop to be open until 6pm every day.

East Anglian Daily Times: Hoxne Post Office and Shop in Low Street.Hoxne Post Office and Shop in Low Street. (Image: Charlotte Bond)

One of the leader of the Hoxne Community General Stores Limited, Mike Barton, said: "We have a few aims, but it is mostly to preserve what the service already does in the community.

"Many of our local banks and post offices have been closing in nearby towns and villages, including the post office in Eye - the next local post office to us - which closed last year.

"Hoxne itself used to have eight shops, three pubs and two post offices, and now we are down to our final post office and shop, and one pub.

"It will also provide the social benefit of having somewhere people can see others. The social interaction is important, and any profit generated gets put back into the community."

Pledges can be completed online at www.hoxnecommunityshop.co.uk or forms are also available at Hoxne Post Office, Greengold cafe and Hoxne Pavilion.

A Post Office spokesperson added: “We understand that the postmistress for Hoxne wants to retire at some point in the future.

"We have been working with a community group that is looking to run the Post Office and village shop and we are delighted by this plan to maintain Post Offices to Hoxne.”