With 11,500 branches across the UK, Post Office is an incredibly diverse network and our Postmasters and their teams have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic with an incredible community spirit; not only serving customers in branch as key workers but going above and beyond their core service to support communities in a host of different ways.
A friendly face and a warm message
Postmistress Raj Kaur in Chiswell Green has been making sure people in her community aren’t feeling lonely while they are shielding and unable to see loved ones. As well as running her branch throughout the pandemic, Mrs Kaur has started to offer a free delivery service to customers unable to visit the shop. Alongside these deliveries she has been offering potted plants with a caring message to her customers and staying to have a socially-distanced chat on the doorstep so that even those who can’t get out can see a friendly face.
“I have been blessed and lucky to live in this village. I feel as though I am part of one big family. The pandemic has caused uncertainty and sadness, but it has brought the community even closer together. We look out for those who have to stay at home and we do what we can. The community really enjoys the chance to see each other every Thursday during for clap for NHS and keyworkers.”
In Shotley, Postmaster Manish Patel celebrated the 25th anniversary of his branch which he took over from his father in 2007. Manish runs an annual fundraising and social event in the village but with Covid-19, his 25th anniversary party wasn’t possible. But knowing how important it is for local people to come together and feel part of a community, Manish and his wife Trupti decided to take the celebration out to their customers.
They have worked to deliver a box of sweets and a comforting message to all 1,100 homes in the village so that every single person in their community feels connected, even if they aren’t able to see people as they usually would.
Social entrepreneur Sonya Cary is an incredible example of how a Post Office can fit in right at the heart of a community. Loneliness has always been at the top of Sonya’s agenda, from hosting Christmas lunch for people who don’t have family nearby, to setting up a café in her Pontrilas Post Office branch for people to sit and chat to other locals. So Sonya saw the Covid-19 pandemic as a chance to do even more for her community.
She has arranged deliveries of groceries to shielding customers, provided Sunday lunches to isolated people, launched a telephone wellness service for people to ring if they want to have a chat and hosted a weekly quiz with the local community as well as many other initiatives to make sure everyone in her community is kept in touch.
A community role
These examples show just how seriously our Postmasters take their community role and it’s been heart-warming to see so many keep in touch with their customers who aren’t able to get to their branch as they normally would.
The face-to-face personal service offered across the country by the Post Office network is so important to communities and making sure everyone feels included, whether that’s accessing cash, sending a letter or just stopping in for a chat.