We’re proud of the fantastic job our postmasters and branch teams do serving their communities every day. We’re determined to make them feel safe and protected at work. To help show this, we’re supporting the Service with Respect initiative launched by The Institute of Customer Service encouraging a safe environment for everyone.
Back our Essential Workers
While our postmasters and branch teams continue to stay open serving the community, we're united in ensuring that they are treated with the respect and compassion they deserve. This is why we're proudly supporting The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) 'Service with Respect' initiative.
With nearly 80% of the UK’s workforce working in customer-facing roles, mounting abuse is affecting staff across every sector – from retail to public services, financial institutions to our public transport networks.
ICS research reveals more than half of customer-facing staff have experienced abuse from customers since the start of the pandemic, ranging from verbal abuse such as shouting and abusive language, to, in the most extreme cases, physical assaults.
Whalley Post Office
We’re Stronger Together award winner, North of England region, Local Hero category: Whalley Post Office.
Azim Shaikh demonstrated the best of us by using his premises to support a range of local charities and is now an important player in the Benefit Mankind team, working with volunteers to deliver food supplies to the village hall and care homes. He helped organise the Whalley community group and has raised funds for the NHS, all the while delivering the services his patrons expect from Post Office.
Nick Read, Post Office Group CEO, was delighted to virtually present Azim with the award – helping Azim celebrate a big year: he was unable to get married as planned in May due to coronavirus restrictions, but has since been able to do so.
Pontrilas Post Office
We’re Stronger Together award winter, Northern Ireland and Wales region, Local Hero category: Pontrilas Post Office.
Throughout lockdown, Sonya Cary – the postmaster at Pontrilas Post Office – went above and beyond to deliver groceries and prescriptions to vulnerable and shielding members of her community, as well as hot meals on Sundays. In a particular stroke of genius, Sonya set up a telephone wellness service, giving lonely and shielding Pontrilas residents someone to talk to.
The branch is in a highly rural area, with significant proportions of the community finding themselves isolated by lockdown. So she also runs a weekly community quiz to keep spirits high and maintain the community’s jovial side. Sonya was virtually presented with her well-earned award by Nick Read, Post Office Group CEO.
North Road Post Office
We’re Stronger Together award winner, Scotland region, Local Hero category: North Road Post Office.
In partnership with two local churches, Abdul Majud donated 400 food parcels with a value of £5,000 to vulnerable and shielding people in his community. In receiving the award, Abdul praised his partners at the churches, saying that they would often be the only people who local pensioners saw.
Abdul is no stranger to philanthropy, having previously helped build a mosque in his home village in Pakistan, partnering with the same two churches to do so. Abdul was virtually presented with his award by Post Office Group CEO Nick Read.
Walton Road Post Office
We’re Stronger Together award winner, Greater London region, Local Hero category: Walton Road Post Office, Newham.
Prakash Shah – known in his community as Peter – has kept local spirits alive by being the East London regional representative. In this capacity he has gone out of his way to help, hosting Teams meetings and checking in with his Area Manager just to see how he was doing.
In his own branch, Peter has partnered with his local church foodbank to deliver groceries, and frequently donating stock from his own convenience store to help those in need. In receiving the award, Peter was keen to recognise his community, saying that they had been there for him for 20 years and that it’s a privilege to be able to give something back. Peter was presented his award virtually by Post Office Group CEO Nick Read.
Aldbourne Post Office
We’re Stronger Together award winner, South West region, Local Hero category: Aldbourne Post Office.
It’s inspiring to see how communities and individuals have come together and supported each other through the coronavirus pandemic. This is exemplified by Sue and Mark Rendell who run the Aldbourne Post Office. On finding out that another postmaster was feeling overwhelmed after his wife was hospitalised following a fall, Sue offered to help with retail, supplies and cleaning for a few days.
This turned into Sue helping her colleague throughout the pandemic, with her own family going the extra mile and assisting at her own branch. The pair were presented with their award virtually by Post Office Group CEO Nick Read.
Rodmill Post Office
We’re Stronger Together award, South East region, Local Hero category: Rodmill Post Office.
As the youngest postmaster in the region, Joshua Grove of Rodmill Post Office was proactive in ensuring his team and others followed early guidance and used PPE, being the first in the area to build his own Perspex screen in branch. On social media, Josh could be found reassuring staff as well as donating large amounts of drinks and more to the NHS.
Josh also organised additional deliveries to members of the community. He was presented with his award digitally by Group CEO Nick Read.
Overseal Post Office
We’re Stronger Together award winner, Midlands region, Local Hero category: Overseal Post Office.
Overseal’s story is one of incredible charity. When postmaster Harshadbhai Patel’s wife, Daxa, passed away, the effect was understandably devastating for Harshadbhai and his daughter Nisha. The Post Office had to close for a couple of weeks. But during this time, Nisha and Harshadbhai donated their branch’s entire stock of food to be given to vulnerable people in the village.
The branch has since reopened, and continues to regularly donate food to the village. Talking about the incredible donation, Harshadbhai said “It’s what Daxa would have wanted.”
Otely Post Office
We’re Stronger Together award winner, East of England region, Local Hero category: Otley Post Office.
Penny Sunaway’s branch in Otley has been creative in keeping community spirit alive during lockdown. After setting up a Facebook page to aid local businesses, Penny spearheaded various efforts to put smiles on faces and combat isolation in trying times. These included quizzes, games and a hugely popular virtual flower show.
Penny has also made deliveries of necessities to vulnerable customers in her community. She was presented with her award virtually by Post Office Group CEO Nick Read.
Hightown Post Office
We’re Stronger Together award winner, North West and North Wales region, Local Hero category: Hightown Post Office.
Jane Bostock-Gibson comes from a proud tradition of helping the Congleton community, with her grandmother and great-grandmother doing the same during the wars. During the pandemic, Jane has been going the extra mile and delivering a raft of provisions to vulnerable and shielding members of her community. It’s not just been food and produce from the local farm, but puzzles, gifts, cards and chocolates too.
From starting her working day at 7am to clean her branch and make it safe for customers and staff, Jane spends her time being a pillar of salt for her community. She was presented with her award virtually by Post Office Group CEO Nick Read.
This is just a taster of the extraordinary efforts our postmasters and branch teams are going to in order to keep their communities safe, well and healthy.
As well as the thanks that such branches receive from those they help we want to recognise the scale of their contribution.
Share your stories
We encourage all our visitors to share their experiences and opinions from their visit to our Post Office branches. As well as thanking our postmasters and branch teams, we use your feedback to help us continue to improve our branch services.
Regularly, throughout the year, we look back at all of the comments left by customers and the good news stories you have shared to help select those postmasters and branch teams selected to be awarded one of our Local Hero awards. Please help us to continue to thank those in our network who go above and beyond in their roles by continuing to share your stories.