JUST in time for Christmas, Sway has got a new post office after eight months without one – and it is bringing a jobs boost to the village.
It will soon be open seven days a week with much longer hours after four or five extra staff have been recruited.
The new service in a modern open-plan retail environment with level access and roadside parking, with post office services offered from a low-screened, open-plan, modern serving point alongside the retail counter.
Felicity Catton, the Central store’s manager for the past four years, said villagers had welcomed the move, especially as the closure of the former Sway post office had been followed by closure of the Brockenhurst one in the summer.
But she added: “Initially we are asking people to try to bear with us as we operate traditional post office hours of 9-5.30pm Monday to Friday and 9-12.30pm Saturdays while we get into the swing of things and try to get more staff.
“We’re looking for four or five more to join the store’s team because we will have 100 hours a week to cover when we will be opening the post office side seven days a week from 6am to 9pm.”
Felicity is helped by assistant manager Ryan Freeman, supervisor Charlotte McDermott and sales assistant Hazel Drayton, but the pressure will mount further in a fortnight when Felicity starts her maternity leave at Christmas.
She explained that all members of the team will be working on the post office counter which is getting busier by the day with Christmas deadlines for mailing cards and parcels, which she has met by putting in more stationery and doubling the shop’s greetings cards section.
When it can open for the extended hours seven days a week it will be providing an extra 57 hours of services a week.
Customers of main UK banks can access accounts for cash withdrawals and balance enquiries at the new branch where services also include bill payment and foreign currency, home shopping collections and returns as well as the all-important letter and parcel postage.
Dean Morris, Post Office multiples account executive, said: “We are delighted to be able to restore post office service to Sway and with very convenient opening hours.”
But Felicity had a word of advice for her customers too: “Obviously we want the post office to stay here and people using it.
“But they need to remember that it is worth investing and not just go for the cheapest service – second class doesn’t really pay.”