There are two Post Offices on the South East England regional shortlist in the Rural Oscars. One, Fittleworth Shop, Post Office & Restaurant, has only recently opened a Post Office and is already impressing the judges. The other is Blake's Kitchen and Clanfield Post Office, near Witney. We take a look at what sets them apart.
Tempting customers with baked goods
This village bakery on the edge of the Cotswolds is popular with locals for its fresh cakes and bread, baked daily from scratch on site, with flour from the local Cotswolds mill. They also offer local produce, everyday essentials and food to eat in or takeaway, as well as being the local Post Office for Clanfield.
Keep it in the family
Clanfield Post Office and Shop was taken on by husband and wife team Bob and Martha Blake in 1963. When Martha retired in 1965, their daughter, Janet Dry took over and still serves customers today. It is now run by Janet’s daughters, Nicola Cooper and Natalie Wright. The family set up the Blake’s Kitchen side of the business in 2014 and it is very popular with customers and awards judges alike.
Their website says ‘By being a local facility for the community, we’ve managed to keep a Post Office on the site for three generations.’
Their recipe for success has been pairing a well-run Post Office, with meeting customer demand for local produce, fresh bread and let’s not forget, cake!
Their local paper, the Oxford Mail, ran a story saying, ‘Michael Gove could soon be sampling a village bakery's tasty treats after it was shortlisted… in the Countryside Alliance Awards, of which the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is a judge.’
To all of the regional finalists in the 2019 Countryside Alliance Awards, well done for getting through to this stage and good luck.
About the Countryside Alliance Awards
The Countryside Alliance Awards (or Rural Oscars) are in their 14th year. Over 17,000 nominations were received, in categories important to countryside communities and the rural economy, including Village Shop/Post Office, Rural enterprise, Pub, Butcher and Local Food/Drink.