Its not officially over until Monday, but its over for me - the consultation period on the proposed cutbacks that Post Office Ltd intend to make to our post office network. Last night, I joined most of the population of Castle Caereinion in a last ditch appeal to save their local Post Office. It will always be special for me, because it was the first shop I entered as a toddler, and for many years the only shop I entered. I used to pick up the (right wing) Daily Express every day for my parents (I attended the local primary school), and often blew my weekly spend on a Mars bar. The current Sub Post Master is Michael Rogers, an institution in the village. I remember his mum, Mrs Rogers (at whose funeral I offered the tribute a few years ago) who died aged 94. I also remember Mr Bert Rogers, Michael's dad who died many decades ago.
And tonight, I chaired a similar meeting in Berriew, where representatives of Post Office Ltd were outlining plans to close the local Sub Post Office to a full community hall. Fortunately, Mr and Mrs Paul Lombard, who run the local Spar, have declared their desire to enter into a 'partnership' with a larger nearby Post Office. So we finished up with a unanimous opinion. We want to retain a Sub Post Office in Berriew, but if Post Office Ltd are intent on closing our local Post Office, we prefer a 'partnership' arrangement to a mobile van or a 'hosted' site. It really was a terrific community meeting.
I've been to so many of these meetings over the last few weeks that I'm going to miss my regular contact with Pauline, Heulyn and Non from Post Office Ltd, Richard and Lowri from Post Watch, and the excellent Keith Richard from the Federation of Sub Post Masters. These people have been at the front line, taking the flak on behalf of a Government who see the Post Office as a business, and not in any way a 'social network'. I do hope that all the effort will not have been in vain.