Learn how to save your post office from closure

CAMPAIGNERS against proposed post office closures due to be announced for Cambridgeshire in early July can get help from the experience of others involved with earlier closures elsewhere in the country. CAPOC – Communities Against Post Offices Closures –

CAMPAIGNERS against proposed post office closures due to be announced for Cambridgeshire in early July can get help from the experience of others involved with earlier closures elsewhere in the country.

CAPOC - Communities Against Post Offices Closures - was formed in February by groups fighting to save what they say were viable offices in Lincolnshire, Hampshire, Leicestershire and East Yorkshire. It is urging new campaign groups to make use of its experience in putting pressure on Post Office Limited to change its mind.

Communities that fear their offices will be on the company's hit-list in July can take advantage of templates on Capoc's website as starting points for formulating their own arguments, the group says.

"It had become obvious to all that the chances of any single action group fighting and winning were very slim.


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"The rationale for the formation of CAPOC was that a coalition of such opposition groups would provide help and advice, borne out of experience, for communities newly threatened with closure. It would have more political clout with a greater chance of achieving a positive outcome.

"It would attract more extensive national media coverage than has been the case so far, and provide, via the CAPOC website, a focal point and discussion forum for the group."

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Capoc says its component groups had used a variety of campaigning styles, one or more of which could be copied by anti-closure campaigners elsewhere.

It suggests following the format of a submission made opposing closure of the post office in the village of Rippingdale, near Bourne, in Lincolnshire, an area with similar demography to much of rural Huntingdonshire.

According to campaigners there, Post Office Limited refused to disclose the commercial information they would have needed to determine whether the branch washed its face financially.

But they argued closely, as this newspaper has always maintained, that post offices are more than counters selling stamps. They also said consultation had been a sham, and no one locally had been asked whether the proposed replacement "outreach" services would meet local needs. Social consequences of closure had been completely ignored, they claimed.

They pointed out to the national monolith that it had identified a branch in a nearby village as the closest surviving office - but that, too, was earmarked for closure, with Rippingdale fingered as the nearest survivor!

In a stinging conclusion to the 13-page submission, they said the bonus recently paid to the Post Office's director general would have kept the Rippingdale office open for 40 years.

John Warman, who was involved with the submission, told The Hunts Post: "We are not against closures where they are sensible. But we are against well-used viable post offices being closed when there are ones used by just five people a week being left open."

He said there had been a "wall of silence" since the consultation. "Ours was a watertight case, and it's being ignored," he added.

Postwatch East's manager, Linda McCord, said she understood negotiations over the future of postal services in Rippingdale were still going on.

INFORMATION:CAPOC is at www.postofficeclosures.org.uk

POST Office Action Week is due to take place later this month and all you have to do to take part is use the services that could soon be gone for good in some areas.

The Hunts Post is asking its readers to abandon the internet and make use of one or more of the services offered by a post office in Cambridgeshire.

By using the local branch you will not only be demonstrating your support, but you will also be able to sign a petition and pick up a Hunts Post sticker.

Action Week starts April 21, so be sure to lend your support.

INFROMATION: To find out about services at post offices, visit www.huntspost24.co.uk and search for post offices. You can also sign the online petition on the website.

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