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The pop-up Post Office

Many rural villages across the country have seen a recent decline in the number of local amenities including pubs, shops and post offices. One church in Berkshire, identified the gap they could fill in their village by providing a space in the church for a regular Post Office shop.

At St Stephen’s Church, Basildon, a pop-up Post Office is open in the church hall two mornings a week, providing a much-needed local service that removes the requirement for people to travel to nearby towns and helps keep the sense of community alive.

The Revd Grant Fensome, Vicar of St Stephen’s Church, shares the background to the Post Office:

“We’re not blessed with anywhere in the village that people can meet. In the space of just a few years, Basildon went from having pubs, shops and a petrol station to just having a gastropub.

"In collaboration with the Parish Council the church offered the space to the Post Office through their mobile post office network and five years on the car park at the church is still constantly busy!”

With the success of the post office and the number of local people making use of it, the ministry team at St Stephen's launched a volunteer-run cafe, open during Post Office hours, to inspire more community cohesion.

Reflecting on the impact of the cafe, Grant said:

“The community cafe brings people together in the village and helps builds relationships between the different generations. There are many new young families in the area who bring their toddlers along and the older generation really enjoy seeing the little ones.

“It puts the church on the map. Having the Post Office and cafe together brings people into the church, creates opportunities to share our faith and for people to ask questions. We’ve been able to build relationships between the church and local people, many of whom we didn’t know before. People who haven’t joined church services before, have started to come along to other events during the week and on Sundays.”

Page last updated: Thursday 31st March 2022 3:21 PM
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