FORMER members of staff at Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton - which closed unexpectedly just after Christmas - have thanked people for their support.

The community rallied around following the news, even offering alternative employment. 

Several former employees of the farm shop, which closed on December 28, met with Skipton town councillor Brian McDaid, who is also assistant general secretary of Aegis the Union, in Skipton Town Hall on Friday last week.

Cllr McDaid said: “I met with some of the staff to listen to how the closure and subsequent redundancies have affected them all.

"I was also able to provide them with legal advice on their rights to ensure they receive the support and financial compensation they deserve.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Keelham Food Hall closure announced

"I have supported many people over the years facing redundancy and one of the key priorities in the role of a union, is to ensure the decision-makers follow the correct process.”

Loyal and hard-working staff now face difficult times financially and emotionally during a cost-of-living crisis.”

He added: “There is (however) a lot of support out there for the staff and a huge thanks to Rebecca Rice from the local Job Centre, who has gone beyond her role to help.

"Also thanks to my union’s employment lawyers, Morrish Solicitors who have offered free advice."

He added: “The staff are also thankful to the local community for their support and offers of alternative employment too. We will continue our support to ensure all the staff receive what they deserve during this difficult time.”

Joint administrators from Alvarez and Marsal were appointed on January 5 to explore options to sell the business

Despite initial interest, no buyer came forward and Keelham Farm Shop is now being wound down.

Following that announcement, Jonny Marston, managing director of Alvarez and Marsal’s restructuring team in Leeds, said: “ The joint administrators are continuing to work with the employees to assist them with claiming their entitlements and obtaining other employment.”

Mr Marston has also invited any potential buyer to get in touch with the joint administrators.

The former joint owners said it was with ‘real regret’ that they had closed the store and that they had done all they could to turn it around.

A statement said: "Over the last 18 months we have done all we can to try and turn around the business and keep it going, by creating a differentiated local food offering with adjacent services and experiences for customers, rebranding our store, as well as taking action to simplify our supply chain. 

"There is active effort being made for the business to be taken over to secure jobs as soon as possible.

"We’d like to thank our customers, partners and suppliers and in particular all of our staff for their hard work over the years."