EFFORTS have begun to secure the future of a successful shop-share project.

The venture, which trades as Gentian, was set up by Barnard Castle Vision, the market town's 20-year regeneration and development initiative.

The lease on Gentian, in Horsemarket, runs out at the end of this year and Vision officials say it is unlikely to continue in its present form.

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The shop-share project has proved particularly popular with local artisans since its launch in 2012.

As part of the project, those who take space in the shop also take a turn working behind the counter.

Barnard Castle Vision delivery team project officer Annalisa Ward said: “We are hoping one or a group of those involved will take the lease on from us and continue it.

"The Vision input will end this year and it is unlikely we will continue it.”

Despite uncertainty over its long-term future, another three small-scale businesswomen have joined the project.

Charlotte Dowson produces a quirky range of jewellery and accessories based around a gardening theme; Anne Northern offers aromatherapy skin and hair care products and lamp work artist Suzanne Tweddle makes glass bead jewellery.