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New Digital Community 'Hub' Launched By Allendale Post Office

Press release   •   Jun 11, 2014 13:50 BST

- Allendale Post Office is to become a physical and digital Community Hub for local residents and tourists
- Winners of Post Office Community Enterprise Fund officially launch new in branch internet suite
- Post Office, Northumberland Community Development Network, County Councilor, Parish Council and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership unite in community spirit

Allendale Post Office launched new in branch internet facilities yesterday, Tuesday 10th June. Subpostmistress Jo Dixon officially opened the facilities to the community and Gordon Stewart, from Northumberland Community Development Network, was on hand to hold free internet taster sessions. Jo was also joined by County Councillor, Colin Horncastle and Jan Simmons, Chairman of the Parish Council. Towards the end of the month Allendale Post Office will also launch a new community website.

Funded by a grant from the Post Office Community Enterprise Fund, the new facilities mean the branch now acts as both a physical and digital community hub for local residents. The website will link different businesses, societies and community groups while the IT workspace in branch provides internet access to residents and offers IT training by local volunteers.

Allendale Post Office has also recently been chosen as the tourist information point for Northumberland County Council and will be working closely with the North Pennines AONB to create a gateway to the North Pennines. The new website will incorporate this role by providing people who do not know the area with relevant information 24/7.

Gordon Stewart, Digital Inclusion Area Co-ordinator, commented:

“This is an exciting development for the people of Allendale and the Northumberland Community Development Network is proud to support such an initiative. Allendale Post Office is uniquely placed to connect the community in this way and I think it is great that any residents who don’t have access to the internet now have a facility to get online and experience the benefits of doing so.”

Josephine Dixon, subpostmistress of Allendale Post Office, said:

“We already play a key role in our community through the Post Office services, shop and notice board but, as behaviours change we recognise the need to enhance what we do for the community online. By combining our physical presence with a digital community our village will be fully connected and so will our visitors. We have the perfect home for such a project given how many people gather and chat in our branch; our community spirit is just fantastic! I would like to encourage all of our residents to come into branch and make use of all we have to offer.”

Allendale Post Office is one of 25 Post Office branches across England chosen as recipients of a grant worth up to £10,000 from the Community Enterprise Fund for their outstanding plans to support local people and businesses, and to tackle isolation amongst the elderly.

Other schemes include providing free Wi-Fi access to homes, and the creation of a walled garden where disabled community members can develop gardening skills. All of the schemes are not-for-profit, but provide a service or activity which is easily accessible and open to all.

Over 99% of the population live within three miles of a Post Office, so the Post Office is uniquely placed to support communities. In many communities across England, particularly those which are more rural, subpostmasters in Post Office branches already play an important role and go the extra mile to get involved in local activities and services.

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For more information contact:

Ellie Austin
Tel: 0207 0123 107
Email: ellie.b.austin@postoffice.co.uk

Alternatively visit http://www.postoffice.co.uk/community-enterprise-fund

About the Post Office

The Post Office (Post Office Limited) has an unrivalled national network of over 11,500 branches across the UK, more than all the high street banks combined, and sits at the heart of communities in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The Post Office has made a commitment to maintaining its network of branches at its current size and reach. It provides around 170 different products and services spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards; Government services; telephony; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.

The Post Office serves over 17 million customers a week and a third of small businesses. Some 99.7% of the total population live within three miles of a post office and over 97% live with one mile of a post office. For many rural communities, the post office is the only retail outlet. Post Offices branches remain highly valued and trusted, and are the focal point of many communities. For more information, visit http://www.postoffice.co.uk/.

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