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Campaign to raise 30,000 for Porthleven Post Office

08 Oct 2018, 13:26 ... st-office/


Campaigners fighting to save the future of Porthleven Post Office have launched a £30,000 fundraising appeal.

In August, post office owners Paul and Sharon Edwards told the Packet that their business had “literally run out of money” and the future was bleak, but since then the community has rallied behind the couple.

A public meeting at the start of September saw 200 people giving up a Saturday evening to offer support and from that the Porthleven Community Support Group has been formed to lead a campaign.

Group spokesperson Rod Stephens said: “Porthleven is in imminent danger of losing a very integral part of its community. The working group are asking all in the community to give whatever they can to this very worthy cause to save Port’s vital community service in the village by giving a donation.”

Donations at the meeting and in collecting boxes since have raised more than £2,800 but the group has a target of £30,000.

If reached, the group says a specific campaign can be put into action in the long-term, as well as in near future, with Mr Stephens adding: “The funding is a one-off event and will balance the books, pay for much-needed signage, leaflet print, market research, a business plan for a sustainable business and the much needed re-branding of the post office store.

“All the groundwork is being covered to enable the post office to be left with a sustainable store business which will support the post office operations as it cannot survive on Post Office Ltd transactional events alone.”

Members of the support group are also donating services for free, such as website design, social media, campaign writing and photography.

The working group believes that the fund total is “quite achievable” and has calculated that if every one of the 3,182 residents of Porthleven donates £9.43 per head – less than the cost of a packet of cigarettes, they say – then this would reach the target.

It hopes people will donate money online via or by leaving a donation in any of the collecting tins around the village, and is also encouraging businesses and organisations to hold their own fundraising events.

“We are doing all we can to facilitate saving our Post Office, but now it is up to you, Porthleven community, whether you decide to support our efforts and save the post office or lose it forever,” added Mr Stephens.

A leaflet from MP Derek Thomas is also being delivered throughout the village, asking residents to give him a mandate to discuss the issues with Post Office Ltd and the government.

Paul and Sharon took over the post office in 2008 and immediately turned it into a convenience store also, also fighting to install a free ATM for residents. Two years ago, however, Post Office Ltd, removed the sub-postmaster salary and instead money is paid for transactions, based on the fee for products and services.

This led to the business running at a loss and as a result the couple were forced to reduce their staff, despite extended opening hours, with Sharon saying: “It was heart-breaking to have to let people go as we had employed local people from the village and saw them as our friends.”

After spending their pension and savings to prop up the business, the couple put it up for sale – but it has since been taken off the market, with the village now fighting for its future.

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