Rural Post Office Use
Last December the government consulted on how it should continue to subsidize the network of post offices. We are still awaiting the response to this consultation but some recent research shows how vital community branches are in rural areas.
A Citizens Advice survey of over 800 rural residents and over 250 small businesses has shown:-
- rural consumers still use post offices significantly more often than urban consumers and they are more likely to use many of the services offered;
- post offices remain embedded in rural life, providing a range of community and retail services;
- rural small businesses rely on post offices more than their urban counterparts;
- the more rural a community, the more important its post office.
Apparently 1 in 5 rural residents believe they would lose contact with neighbours or friends if their local post office closed. For older people, people with a disability, carers or those who do not use the internet this could result in increasing levels of loneliness and isolation. At a time when many of Hampshire’s rural communities are facing challenges (the loss of assets and services; older residents struggling to remain independent) the importance of the post office and the local shop as key community services cannot be over stressed.
The briefing paper from Citizens Advice can be found here