With the rise of technology and social media, our world is becoming increasingly interconnected, but despite this many still experience prolonged feelings of loneliness and isolation.
To help break the stigma around this issue, the Marmalade Trust has created National Loneliness Week and in honour of this we wanted to show what a vital role you and your branch can play, and what many are already doing.
One story often told fondly by Paula Vennells, former CEO, was of a visit to a particular Post Office in Manchester. In this busy branch was a bench, known as “Gladys’ bench”. Gladys would come in everyday for a chat at the same time, and this connection was just as important as making money.
Roughly 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a relative or friend in more than a month, and by visiting the Post Office this interaction can be gained.
However, the few minutes spent in the Post Office can be developed to be so much more than a simple ‘interaction’. As with Gladys, a friendship can be set up between the workers and the customer, as well as with other customers visiting at the same time. You can be a friend when no one else is there for someone.
Many Postmasters choose to go even further than this, and Pontrilas branch (as highlighted in a previous article on the topic) has created a lunch club for older residents in the rural village, and the warm welcome develops the sense of community with the Post Office at the heart of it.
These examples perfectly demonstrates the amazing role our Postmasters play in communities across the UK.
The UK, according to a Government survey in 2017, is the loneliest country in Europe, and here at the Post Office we have the perfect opportunity to help stop this- all we have to do is be friendly and kind to one another.