Campaigners seeking to reclaim the former Rodmell Primary School, which closed last summer, are preparing to make a formal bid for the building.
The Rodmell and Ouse Valley Collective’s goal is to save the building, which is now up for sale, for future generations of residents.
Julie Bull, member of the group, said: “The building is now listed for sale by tender with Clifford Dann Estate Agents.
“We have a short window of time now to make an expression of interest for the purchase of the building.
“If we miss this window, the school will be sold for private development and lost to us as a community forever.
“We have successfully applied for £10,000 of funding from Power to Change, a charity that supports community businesses and have several advisors supporting us as we move to make a formal bid.”
Julie said the group are trying to raise £350,000 to cover the purchase of the building.
“We’ve had an initial valuation of £225,000 which we’re getting confirmed with a full survey and valuation in the next few weeks,” she said.
“Then, we think we’ll need an additional £125,000 for the refit of the building and initial stock purchases and so on.
She said the group are calling for the community’s support.
“The average investment people in other communities have made in these types of business is around £750,” she commented.
“We’re also hoping to get matching investment and some grant support for our plans, so realistically, if just 150 households support this project to the same level as the average across the country, we’re well on the way.”
The groups vision for how the building could be used includes a village shop and cafe selling local produce, a number of artists’ studios, areas for homeworkers and local businesses to rent desk space or an office, and a large space for hire and for community events.
“The building can be a new kind of community hub,” said Julie.
“Our most important partners though, are you - the members of the communities who will be served by the new building and what it will offer. If we are to save the school we need your help now.
“There are also plans to preserve local memories and strengthen Rodmell’s connection to the Southdowns by incorporating a heritage section within the building.
“We believe that together, these ventures give us a varied and sustainable revenue that will enable us to thrive.”
To support the group, people can fill out a form online at www.rodmelloldschool.org or in the village hall.