POSTMASTERS are banding together to try to halt the decline of sub-post offices.
Members of the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters (NFSP) aim to promote Post Office services and make people realise they offer more than just stamps.
Huddersfield and District NFSP are taking part in the effort.
Huddersfield branch secretary Brenda Bodenham said: “Most people believe that Post Offices are now safe thanks to the securing of the Post Office Card Account and the completion of the closure programme.
“Unfortunately that is not true; sub-postmasters are constantly having to encourage new business.”
Brenda, who runs Honley Post Office, says the NFSP is looking at how authorities such as police and councils can help Post Offices stay afloat.
Kirklees Council currently allows rent, care charges and council tax bills to be paid through Post Offices.
But Brenda says more can be done.
“We are very aware that there are many more services that Kirklees could offer that would help us in our efforts to secure our place within local communities.
“Examples of services that some councils offer are: disabled badges; residents’ parking permits; school meals charges; and leisure centre passes. Post offices could also be access points for information from the council.”
The Huddersfield branch’s calls have been prompted by a report just released by the NFSP, which sets out six steps for ensuring the survival of the Post Office network. The six steps are:
Increasing the number of Government services offered at Post Offices.
Ensuring local councils use Post Offices to deliver a wide range of local services, plus giving rate relief to Post Offices.
Providing banking and financial services through Postbank and increasing the range of bill payment services.
Ensuring Post Offices remain the hub of all social and business mail needs, offering new mail services and stopping sorting office and delivery closures.
Preventing further Post Office closures.
Improving the viability of local retail outlets acting as Post Offices.
Brenda said public support will be a huge factor in any success.
“It was truly down to the magnificent efforts of our customers in writing letters and signing petitions that caused Government to rethink its Post Office Card Account strategy.
“We ask them to continue to demonstrate that support for the Post Offices in their local communities by checking out what other goods and services they provide and using the offices to carry out more of their day to day business.”