Almost exactly a year after he was notified that his Post Office was one of 2,500 across the UK to be closed by the government, Uplands Postmaster Robin Craig and his wife Phillipa became only the second facility to re-open.
More than 50 local residents and customers turned up at 8am on a cold and wet November morning to see local grandmother Mary Davies officially cut the ribbon to declare the shop back in business.
Uplands was one of 26 in Gloucestershire to be closed as part of the government’s controversial Network Change programme. Today’s celebrations followed a long and tireless campaign by the local community. Last month Stroud Town Council confirmed that a deal had been done to secure the shop’s future.
Under a groundbreaking contract with Mr Craig, it is providing a £60,000 subsidy to maintain postal services in this part of the town until March 2011.
So far Uplands is the only stand-alone Post Office in the country to be saved from the cuts, and Stroud is the only Town Council to have won such a deal. The contract has been hailed as the blueprint for any other community wishing to secure its Post Office.
Stroud Mayor John Marjoram hailed the opening as an against-the-odds victory for the local community and for common sense.
‘In years to come I believe people will see the closure of these vital community facilities as a big big mistake,’ he said. ‘In Stroud we have always valued our great sense of community. It is imaintained by keeping key services for people close to where they live. The number of residents who have turned out this morning and all the positive comments I’ve heard, proves that this shop really is the heart of the Uplands Community. I am delighted we’ve managed to resucitate it.’
Local guitarist Shaun Mosely provided musical entertainment to lift spirits while the crowd tucked into tea and coffees and cakes and sweets donated by local businesses. A big thankyou to the Co-op in Slad Road and Waitrose in London Road for their generosity. Several residents also brought in home made cakes to mark the occasion, including the one above. Beau’s Bakehosue which is based in the flat above the shop also donated a range of tasty home-made cakes.
The story featured on national TV all morning after a crew from GMTV visited the town the day before. BBC Radio Gloucestershire broadcast live from the shop throughout the morning, along with a camera crew from HTV news and reporters and photographers from Stroud Life and the News and Journal.
Uplands Post Office is now open every Monday to Saturday with extended opening to 6pm on weekdays.We hope all local residents will support the business to help secure its long-term future.
Click here to read the full story of the year-long campaign to save Uplands Post Office.
Town councillors took full advatage of the oipening become its first postal customers. They acquired a postcard of Uplands and first class stamp to send a note to the Prime Minister. Gordon Brown was formally invited to visit the shop to see for himself what a valued service it provided and how local communities are willing to work with Post Office Ltd to secure their future.
Pictured (l-r) Stroud Mayor John Marjoram, Stroud MP David Drew, and town councillors Margaret Poulton, Sheila Lister and Dave Cockcroft.
All Pix copyright Andy Read