Post Office here to stay after successful trial at Gainford
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
A TRIAL run of an outreach Post Office at Gainford has proved so successful that it is to be a permanent fixture at the village hall.
Postmaster Andy Hill started a trial of holding the outreach Post Office in the village at the beginning of the year when approached by a Gainford resident at his premises at Middleton St George. He said: “I made contact with the secretary of the village hall, Tony Kennan, then I drove through to see if it was adequate – if it had disabled access and if it suited our needs.”
The facility was ideal and after getting approval from the Post Office, the three month trial was launched with the facility opening between 1pm and 3pm each Tuesday and Wednesday.
Mr Hill said: “It was successful and it beat expectation. We get 50 to 70 people a day. Since lockdown we have had a lot more people working from home who need to send off correspondence.”
There is also demand from people to return items they had bought online, as well as people who have started cottage industries by selling things on Ebay, the postmaster said.
The outreach facility can do all regular Post Office transactions such as cash withdrawals, council tax and parcels. The only exception is currency exchange, which is not allowed, Mr Hill said.
Kieran Elliot, who runs the Gainford outreach on behalf of Mr Hill, said demand was such that it was one of only a few villages that received the service two times a week.
He said: “Usually we fill one or two post bags a week, here it is seven or eight. There are definitely a lot of online sellers in the village. We get all sorts – letters, small parcels, medium parcels and special delivery parcels. Mr Kennan, of the village hall committee, welcomed the move t make the service permanent.
He said: “The popularity of the Post Office facility in Gainford Village Hall has been proved, well and truly. Long may it continue.”
He urged people in the village to continue to support the service.