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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 April, 2003, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Move to keep communities posted
Post office
Concern is growing over closing sub-post offices
Senior church figures have called on congregations throughout Scotland to allow sub-post offices to be based on their premises.

A report by the Church of Scotland's church and nation committee said the move would particularly help elderly and disabled people, who rely heavily on local post offices.

There are almost 2,000 sub-post offices in Scotland and according to the committee their closure has meant that "former focal points of community life have withered away".

"Most affected by post office closures in both rural and urban deprived communities are the elderly, the poorest and the least mobile," the report added.

As a solution, the committee highlights the example of the Birsay, Harray and Sandwick parish on Orkney, which has allowed the local sub-post office to be based in its church hall.

There is a huge opportunity here for some very creative working together
Rev Alan McDonald
Now the committee wants the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which meets in Edinburgh next month, to back its calls for the practice to be extended throughout the country.

The report said: "We have drawn attention to the example of members of Birsay, Harray and Sandwick congregation who have made a practical commitment to their local community by giving a home to the sub-post office.

"We call upon other congregations throughout Scotland to consider whether they too could exploit their buildings and other resources to make a similar commitment."

Reverend Alan McDonald, who is convener of the church and nation committee, said he hoped congregations across the country would follow the lead of the worshippers in Orkney.

He told the Scotland on Sunday: "There is a huge opportunity here for some very creative working together from two institutions which can be described as essential services for a community.

"This is about the church keeping services alive in communities and contributing to the lives of people."

Island delight as post returns
07 Apr 03  |  Scotland
Cash for rural post offices
02 Dec 02  |  Scotland
Rural fears over post plans
31 Jan 02  |  Scotland

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