Rocketing energy costs and funding pressures have forced the sudden closure of a pioneering Angus social supermarket.
S-Mart on West High Street in Forfar provided 35,000 meals for locals during the Covid-19.
But the success story continued beyond the pandemic.
It offered discounted food to customers, but also branched into clothing and set up a cafe.
The community project saved thousands of tonnes of food from going to landfill.
A notice on the door of the closed shop said: “We hugely appreciate everyone who has supported our organisation over the past three years, and rally hope to return in the future.”
Pauline Lockhart and Carol Malone co-founded the community initiative, which also built strong links with local schools.
In 2021, the Earl and Countess of Forfar visited the premises to hail its work.
But S-Mart revealed crippling energy costs and a lack of funds had forced the painful decision to shut.
“Due to the wholly unmanageable energy price hikes, food cost rises and all other cost increases we’re experiencing, we have had to make the difficult decision to close the Hub for the time being,” it said.
“This means the laying off of 11 dedicated members of staff.
“Forfar High School pupils will no longer be able to come down and have access to work experience with us.
“Our volunteers will no longer have our caring and supportive premises to build their confidence through volunteering.
“The community will no longer have access to hugely discounted shopping in S-Mart or be able to come out and enjoy the warm space, community camaraderie and low prices of the Little Green Cafe.
“Local creatives and artists will no longer be able to display and sell their goods in our cafe.
“Community health and wellbeing groups, photography, arts and crafts and local women’s groups will no longer have a local space to meet and support each other.
“The list of services and support the Hub has provided over the past three years goes on and on.
“But unfortunately without financial support from the powers that be, we will no longer be able to support the community with any of it.
“We’ve provided thousands of meals, saved people hundreds of pounds, saved hundreds of tons of food from going to landfill and provided thousands of free groceries to people in need.”