What can I apply for?

The Community Branch Fund gives you the opportunity to apply for a grant from Post Office Limited to make a number of changes to develop and improve your Post Office business. This could include changing the format of your branch, new Post Office signage, other refurbishment work or investing in growing your business, for example by improving your parcels facilities.

What you choose to do will depend on your individual circumstances. You can be as innovative as you like and we will work alongside you to identify the best solution for your branch. And although we would like you to realise the benefits investment can bring as soon as possible, we will accept more than one application if, for example, you would like to update your Post Office signage or parcel storage straight away while you consider other improvements.

Here are a few examples from across the network to help you think about the potential improvements we can help you to make:

Your customers

You’ll know more than anyone, the key to running a successful business is knowing your customers. So think about your customers, have chats with them about what you could do to improve the service you provide. Why not do some research to get a better understanding of their needs to understand how you can help?

–   Who are your customers and what do they need?

–   How will your investment idea bring benefits to your customers?

Madeline Sunderland, subpostmaster at Gotherington branch, created a community hub in her branch by introducing a tea room. Madeline knew her community needed a place to meet-up and socialise and has found customers often stay in her branch for longer and think of her first when they need a product or service – this has helped boost Madeline’s overall business.

Opening of Arts and Craft Internet Cafe at Gotherington Post Office Gloucestershire. Gotherington local branch was awarded £10,000 for their Community Enterprise Fund to create an IT and craft room to help combat social isolation in their rural community. Pictured, interior of Gotherington Post Office with counter shop and cafe. Picture by Gavin Crilly Photography, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION contact for more information mob: 07810638169 web: www.gavincrillyphotography.com email: gavincrilly@gmail.com The photographic copyright (© 2014) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer's knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

Opening of Arts and Craft Internet Cafe at Gotherington Post Office Gloucestershire. Gotherington local branch was awarded £10,000 for their Community Enterprise Fund to create an IT and craft room to help combat social isolation in their rural community. Pictured, Sub Postmaster Madeline Sunderland, serving Christine Godsell. Picture by Gavin Crilly Photography, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION contact for more information mob: 07810638169 web: www.gavincrillyphotography.com email: gavincrilly@gmail.com The photographic copyright (© 2014) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer's knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

Improving your Post Office business

Customer shopping habits are changing and the parcels business is continuing to grow. As the number one mails retailer, this presents a big opportunity for the Post Office to grow business too – is your branch ready for the change?

–   Can the fund help to create storage space, such as extra shelving, in your branch for Click & Collect and Drop & Go?

–   Is your current Post Office signage looking old and tired? You could use the fund to order new Post Office signage and instantly improve the appearance of your branch

Click to see our latest signage catalogue.

 

Going open-plan

Would open-plan counters improve the customer service in your branch and free up room to create/expand your retail business?

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–   A Post Office service point on your retail counter will allow you to serve your retail and Post Office customers in the same place. This can be a lot more convenient for you and your customers, and can be a more efficient way to operate your business.

–   If your retail business is currently open longer than your Post Office, moving to open-plan is the perfect way to offer extended Post Office opening hours without increasing your costs – great for customers and for your business.

–   Removing the fortress position in your store can free up more space for retail to help you grow this part of your business too.

  • Subpostmasters with open-plan offices have reported increased operational efficiencies of up to 30%
  • “I only have one Post Office counter but now it’s open-plan and joined with the retail, we’ve expanded our retail offer and make better use of our staffing costs.”

Geoff Sellars, subpostmaster at Bradfield branch 

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General refurbishment

You could use your investment to make some general improvements to your branch:

–          New internal and external Post Office signage

–          New flooring, shelving, doors, lighting (etc.)

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This all helps to create a more pleasant experience for your customers when they walk through the doors.

Improving your whole business

A vibrant retail business will help to increase customer spend and drive customer footfall. The Network Transformation Community Branch Fund can help you to improve the long term sustainability of your business.

–          Could you benefit from professional independent advice to discuss how to develop your whole business?

–          Our Retail Support team can help to develop your potential retail business and have already supported many subpostmasters in boosting their businesses

  • Postmasters have reported 12% increase in average retail sales*

*figure correct as of November 2013, according to Operator Satisfaction report produced by Quadrangle

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