Island MP Bob Seely has teamed up with local charity Community Action IW to try to secure post office provision on the Island.
Together they are urging local town and parish councils to help support struggling, or previously unsuccessful, rural services and have also called for a meeting with national Post Office CEO Nick Read to seek support for local services.
They have also asked Mr Read what support is available through the new Government funds for post office service sustainability, to support either Newport Post Office or rural services.
In Newport, despite best efforts, no major retailer had expressed any interest in taking on a larger scale post office outlet. Regarding rural services, they have also asked whether a mobile service could be an option for the Island in areas where the service is under threat.
In addition, they have asked town and parish councils to consider modest support for outreach services in villages.
Seely said: “We need to take Island-wide action to ensure that post office services are put on as sustainable a footing as possible, and that services remain convenient and available for as many people as possible, both in towns and in rural communities.”
Community Action IW is currently running Godshill Post Office and shop, and the outreach services at Totland, Whippingham and Brading through its trading arm, Island Community Ventures Ltd (ICV) at a loss which puts the longevity of the outreach services at risk.
With a number of rural outreach services closed or under threat, new partnerships between Community Action IW and town and parish councils could be the solution.
Mike Bulpitt of Community Action IW said: “In recent years, several individuals have tried to provide services, but each time the business model has failed without the backing of a strong partnership.
“Community Action is keen to support Island communities with the delivery of post office services, but we cannot do it alone.
“We have recently put in place new arrangements with Godshill and Totland Parish Councils where they will financially support what we are already delivering.
“What we are keen to do is take on delivery of other rural outreach services, but we need town and parish councils to back us financially.”
The cost of ICV delivering rural post office services would be around £1000 a year or £19.23 a session.
Bob said: “It is clear that partnership working is the key to securing long-term post office services across the Island.
“I am grateful to Community Action IW for the work they are doing, and I hope that working together we can find solutions that are sustainable and meet the needs of Island communities.
“I would urge town and parish councils to seriously consider supporting the work ICV is doing. This may be the only way to ensure services continue or resume, in their areas. The cost is extremely modest considering the value it brings.
“I would like to thank the residents and councillors who have written to me on this issue. Please be assured that I am doing all I can but please, if anyone has any further ideas, do let me know.”
Mr Seely and Mr Bulpitt have also asked the Post Office if they can assist with operational elements to make the delivery of outreach services as cost-efficient as possible which would include equipment for outreach delivery, combining outreach period end monitoring reports and Royal Mail / Post Office Ltd co-operation around pickups in Totland.