The end of my first month blogging and I have been very surprised by the level of interest. Wordpress gives me statistics of who has visited and what they have read. Clearly POL and their problems are of significant concern. The one word that sums them up though is unaccountable. They survive on that alone while destroying the lives and investments of those that they employ.
In the social Media news this week was Kilcreggan Post Office. A perfect example of a large number of Post Offices caught up in the NT Scandal with nowhere to go.
These are branches that don’t fall under the category of community branches – no other retail outlet within half a mile. Yet the other retail outlets around them don’t want a Post Office – not now and not in the future. These other retailers will happily provide the branch and POL with a written sworn statement that this is the case yet POL remain resolute in their desire (actually need is a better word) to get rid of these branches.
There are probably at least 1000 or so of these branches, maybe more. Each fighting on an individual level with POL to find a solution to the problem – a lasting solution not a temporary rollover. All of them remain unsure of their future – what better incentive to demotivate and reduce investment in their business.
That leads me to Kilcreggan, a small remote village on the West Coast of Scotland. They want to invest in their business and make it succeed. Banks won’t lend and Post Office won’t help so they have turned to Crowd Funding – an excellent initiative in my eyes and one that I have contributed to. (https://www.gofundme.com/save-kilcreggan-po)
As soon as the publicity reached POL’s ears, they changed their tune. Kilcreggan has been given a 12 month stay of execution. That however doesn’t help them and I would encourage you to contribute to their fund just to show POL just what can be done without their involvement.
The branches in a similar position have no where to go. They cannot sell their business and they cannot convert to a new model as they would lose their core tier payment – the fixed monthly payment that makes running a Post Office almost but not quite bearable.
POL need to understand that NT is not a viable solution in the rural community. It doesn’t matter how many nearby retailers there are. The income generated by the PO Local model is not worthwhile considering. The increased footfall that POL use to promote the idea is a farce. In a small community the same number of people who will visit the butcher and buy something there won’t be increased because they have a post office as well.
POL have to think again. Come up with a better plan to be considered. A plan that incorporates the logical premise that each and every rural post office is a unique case. A plan that considers the ultimate future of the provision of Post Office services in these communities. As sure as fate each and every one will need to be sold on at some stage. If it is not a viable proposition there will be no buyers. Post Offices will close and as we now see very clearly, other businesses don’t want them in their premises.
I am off on holiday now for a week – no doubt there will be more to write when I get back.