Community action has been hailed for its role in helping restore Post Office services in a north-east town after a temporary solution was found in a clothes shop.
Stonehaven’s main Post Office on Allardice Street shut its doors in April last year after the store it was located in closed down because of Covid-19.
That left residents with two options – use the smaller branch in the Co-op on Kirkton Road, which struggled to cope with demand, or travel several miles to Portlethen or Inverbervie.
A campaign was launched in a bid to reinstate full service to the town after customers were left queuing round the block in the run-up to Christmas.
Temporary solution set up
As a result, a temporary “outreach service” was set up in the Allardice Street branch of clothing store M&Co while the search for a permanent postmaster continues.
The new service is in operation on Thursdays and Fridays and is operated by Inverbervie Post Office.
Residents in Stonehaven have now been hailed for their efforts in getting full postal services restored to the town.
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie said “community engagement” was key to the new service being set up.
He urged Post Office chiefs to find a permanent solution as soon as possible.
“I’ve spoken to many Stonehaven residents about the service level since the original Allardice Street counter closed,” Mr Bowie said.
“This is no criticism of the Co-op or staff – it’s just that a town this size needs more capacity for services centrally.
“That was displayed last Christmas and it will only get busier as Covid restrictions are reduced.
“We still need a postmaster to take this on full-time and that’s not been lost on the Post Office team locally.”
Post Office ‘delighted’ with new setup
The counter in M&Co opened on June 24, but no signage has yet been installed to make residents aware.
In a letter to stakeholders, Post Office’s network provision lead Robert Sharp said the firm was “delighted” with the new arrangements.
“We are pleased to be able to reinstate the service as a temporary Hosted Outreach whilst we continue to seek a permanent solution,” he added.
“The postmaster from Inverbervie Post Office currently operates an outreach service in the area and has extended the Post Office services to the customers in Stonehaven.
“I know that the local community will join me in welcoming this good news and hope that you and our customers will continue to use this service.”