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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 December 2006, 16:26 GMT
Community impact of PO closures
The government is expected to announce the closure of thousands of post offices next week.

The Royal Mail has told ministers that it is losing millions of pounds a week.

Here, BBC News website readers speak of the role the post office plays in their communities and how the closures would have an impact on their lives.

A post box

Mary Murphy, 68, Windmill Hill, East Sussex.

We live about three houses away from the local post office and I use it a lot. But it is not only me - a lot of elderly people come to visit and use it too.

If it closes it is going to have a tremendous impact on the community.

People in rural communities pay as much tax as anyone else, but they cannot rely on the services.

Elderly people are frail and they are not going to stand outside in the wind and the rain waiting for buses.

Although I don't think the closure of the post office would be the death knell for the village community, because it is the people who make the community, it is so necessary to keep an area feeling and looking alive.

I use the post office for everything - post and packages, I go in to get money on my debit card, I use the information and the leaflets and people go there to meet each other and to chat.

Our next nearest post office is also facing the axe, so we would have to travel six to seven miles in either direction to get to a post office. We are told time and again about pollution, but we would have to drive.

We are also told about elderly people needing exercise, and now they will not be able to walk to the post office.

It is not just the elderly that go in - children on their way from school also use it.

Clive Pallett, 48, Hythe, Kent.

My wife and I are registered blind and we lost our local post office which was within walking distance two years ago.

Now our nearest post office is in Hythe town centre, which is about a mile-and-a-half away. This is not only inconvenient but also there are often queues there.

Before, we would use our local post office quite often, but now we have to think twice about going into town to go there. We usually have to combine it with doing some shopping.

It has definitely impacted on our community here - at the old post office we used to go there to do other things and catch up on the local gossip. We can't do that now.

Patricia Waymouth, 57, Embo, Dornoch, Scotland.

I have an 83-year-old mother who has to use a three-wheeled walking aid to get around. It is difficult for her to get on a bus, and our local bus is going anyway in January.

If our local post office closes she will have to rely on me to take her to the next one which is three miles each way. I work and this will be really difficult.

At the moment she walks the quarter-of-a-mile to the post office, which gets her out of the house and she can speak to local people. The post office is the hub of the village.

We both use the post office for its postal services, but also as a local shop. My mother relies on it to buy things and to get her daily papers.

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