HAVE you visited the Mell Square Post Office recently? I called in the other day, to find it has a totally new look. No more standing in a long, winding queue: instead they have a ticket system and seats in the middle of the shop where the queue used to be. So you can pop out to do something else until your turn comes if there are lots of numbers before your turn.
You can also weigh and send your own parcels with a nifty new machine, which cuts down some of the length of the queue. And there’s a desk where you can sit down and speak face-to-face with a financial adviser. This is all part of a new initiative to bring the Post Office into the 21st Century.
I have asked the Post Office management if we can have a similar facelift for Shirley Post Office on Stratford Road. Shirley is used extensively, and queues can be very long. I’m sure we would all appreciate a sit-down or the chance to go and do something else while we wait for the service that often only the Post Office can give.
Having lost 5,400 post offices under Labour from 1997, and nearly 2,000 more under the Conservatives before that, we can no longer rely on either of these parties to maintain the current network, if their past record is anything to go by.
So, we must now invest in the network we have left to make it a thriving service that can continue to be the hub of the communities it serves. That means looking at new services for this trusted British brand.
You can already get foreign money, insure and tax your car and your house, get personal life insurance, a mortgage, a home phone package with or without broadband, all the National Savings and Investments products, bonds, ISAs, free personal banking; and a whole lot more to come!
You and I can also help. We can support our local Post Office by considering what else they have on offer when we go in to buy stamps. It’s a typical ‘use it or lose it’ situation.
In a changing world, the Post Office is still a trusted brand for so many people. It must modernise to survive and find new business, but the effort to bring it into the 21st Century will be well worth while.