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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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Post Office

Pity none of the other Island Bloggers in Lewis bothered to pick up on this important story which has been running for several weeks.

There are plans afoot to withdraw funding, worth £150 million, from outlying post offices by 2008. This would mean that rural post offices, in such places as Gravir and Kershader in Lochs, Garrabost in Point and Ness would be closed.

BBC Alba's excellent Eorpa program featured a lengthy report on the issue on Thursday night. The post mistress in Garrabost explained that the PO is not just for selling stamps, it is also a focal point for the local community. A fair chunk of PO business has been overtaken by modern technology; you can apply for a car tax-disk on-line these days, and more than 3 million Britons took that opportunity over the last year.

If PO's like the ones mentioned were to close, customers would have to travel to Stornoway, in the case of Lewis, to do their postal business. This means a 30 mile journey one-way in places like Ness, Uig and South Lochs. Many customers in the out-lying districts are quite elderly, and bus services are so scarce (in places like Lochs and Uig) that your entire day will be eaten up simply for a stamp or going for your pension.

A petition was handed in to Downing Street earlier this autumn, containing 4 million signatures, to plead with Prime Minister Tony Blair to rethink his proposals. The Garrabost post mistress was amongst those handing in the petition. The answer was a blunt NO.

It is now important, more than ever, to make the most of your post office, whether it be in Stornoway or in any outlying village. Do whatever you can there. Once it's gone, it'll be too late.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 22:24


As a Philatelist I use my post office regularly. This story has been in the philatelic community for a good while, as the Royal Mail, in their wisdom, are moving away from actually putting stamps on letters and parcels, while still issuing new stamps about once a month. It will be sad to see the demise of a once great network of post offices, however the Govt. has been paying Royal Mail millions a year to keep the P.O.'s open, and it can not continue. I do support the local P.O.'s.

thewhitsettler from the croft lewis

AL, the post office have been trying to get out of handling post for years, actively seeking business's to diversify into. You can 'buy' stamps online now and print them yourself. I heartily agree with the 'focal point' of the community bit. The post office is all Gravir has, apart from the museum. Maybe posties will become mobile shops selling stamps, envelopes and pens to all the luddites.

Mark from Consignia Halls

Where abouts in Lewis is Ludd?

calumannabel from Peterloo Place Lionel

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