A community bakery hopes to open its doors before Christmas, after raising thousands of pounds from local shareholders.

Dunbar Community Bakery has negotiated an agreement in principle to lease a shop on Dunbar high street in East Lothian and convert it into a working bakery. The group has raised more than £23,000 in equity from more than 230 shareholders since it was formed in June 2009 and has also received promises of £35,000 in interest-free loans.

The community started raising cash when the village bakery closed after 155 years. Chairperson Jane Wood said it had the potential to raise tens of thousands of pounds more in grants and loans.

"We’ve got enough money to take the project forward, but we still have a funding gap for some of the start-up costs," she said. "We need to get equipment and the first lot of stock, so we’re hoping to get some sponsorship, but would also be grateful for any good quality second-hand equipment."

The group plans to recruit a bakery manager in the next few months and the bakery will produce mainly organic, artisan bread and cakes. Wood added: "We will employ six people initially and the busi-ness should break even within three years."