Post Office Network ‘Change Programme’ should not increase rural isolation
Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA Gerry McHugh has said that it is essential that any proposals to rationalise the Post Office Network should not in any way add to the isolation of people, particularly in rural areas.
Mr McHugh said:
"The core customer base in many areas is made up of the most vulnerable people within communities and in particular older people.
"We need to see a recognition of not just the commercial realities with the Post Offices but also the fundamental social role of the Post Office, particularly in rural communities.
"Models of outreach such as Mobile, Partner Home and Hosted facilities have been piloted in some areas and we need an honest assessment and feedback on how these models actually maintain physical access to Postal Services. In particular services to remote areas have to be maintained. The Post Office for many living in rural areas has been a source of connection with the wider community.
"Any proposals should to balance cost effectiveness with delivering accessible and efficient services. I believe that there are other models being looked at elsewhere, for example in Scotland, that add value to the local Post Office and these need to be properly explored in order to improve sustainability." ENDS