Northern Ireland and Wales Stronger Together Event

Northern Ireland and Wales Stronger Together Event

Last night saw the final of our virtual “We’re Stronger Together” events in Northern Ireland, Wales, Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

Nick Read, Group CEO, was joined by Lynn Lewis, Regional Manager, who hosted the event live from Swansea, with a question time panel including Martin Kearsley, Director of Banking, Mark Siviter, Director of Mails, Amanda Jones, Retail and Franchise Network Director, Owen Woodley, Group Chief Commercial Officer and Andy Kingham, Head of Network.

Lynn opened the event with enormous thanks to all postmasters in the region for the vital services and invaluable support they have provided to customers, especially over the last 3 months.

Nick shared a business update and recognised it been a very difficult few months but was clear that his priority is to work better together, in partnership with postmasters and double down on the products and services that will help postmasters thrive – Travel, Cash and Banking, Mails and Parcels and Bill payments. Put simply he said “without postmasters there is no Post Office”.

Lynn then opened the floor to questions. As this was the final event, Lynn wanted as many questions from postmasters as possible and we certainly got through them – 18 answered in total.

Postmasters Vimal Kabaria, from King Square Post Office in Wales and Dermot Lynch from the Clanabogan branch in Northern Ireland joined the live panel and asked some great questions on the Royal Mail tracked 24 and 48 services and whether this service could be available from Post Offices and why there have been delays to cheque deposit processing in Northern Ireland.

As with all of the events over the past two weeks there were many questions for the panel ranging from processing Irish passport applications in branch, the future agreement with Royal Mail, new energy products for Northern Ireland, reintroducing travel Insurance back into branches and customers wearing face coverings in shops.

Questions and answers from this and other events will be available on the One website over the next few weeks and postmasters can also join the Wales and Northern Ireland regional facebook page here where the conversation will continue.

The event also recognised the dedication and exceptional commitment of postmasters to their communities and there were 27 nominees for special commendations for the region.

Lynn said: “Choosing the finalists and winners for these awards was incredibly difficult, many postmasters and their teams have been amazingly supportive of their customers and communities, going the extra mile and looking after some of their most vulnerable customers through what has been a very difficult time in recent months. Congratulations to all of the nominees and finalists”.

And the winners are…

Sajaad Yasin from Penarth Post Office, a well-deserved winner of the Better for Customers Award. Yasin and his team extended opening times to Sundays so their elderly, vulnerable and shielding customers could feel safe when visiting their Post Office at a quiet time. As well working late into the evenings to support their new and existing drop and go customers, Yassin stepped in at short notice to support another busy Welsh community with a temporary Post Office service.

The Community Engagement Award went to Colm Devlin and his team at Crossmaglen Post Office who have been tirelessly delivering groceries and essential services for their elderly, vulnerable and shielding customers. They also joined forces with the local football club to check in with customers so that they were not lonely or isolated.

And finally, the Local Hero commendation was awarded to Sonya Carey at Pontrilas Post Office. Sonya runs a social enterprise called CARE that includes a locally sourced shop, café, gym and a volunteer run Post office. She also set up a telephone wellbeing service to keep in touch and chat to lonely and vulnerable members of the community. Sonya also delivers groceries, Sunday lunches and prescriptions to her elderly, vulnerable and shielding customers.

Amanda Jones said: “Because of lockdown we took the difficult decision not to hold our annual retail awards this year but we still wanted to recognise the important work postmasters have been doing across the region, the last few months have been really tough, but you’ve adapted so quickly and so brilliantly to deal with the situation and I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone”.

If you missed the event, you can watch it here:

More than 1,200 postmasters attended 9 virtual events across all of the UK.