The postmaster and shopkeeper of the Hinderwell shop and post office officially handed over the reins to The Badger Hounds pub on Friday. The project has been completed with financial support from Pub is The Hub and the Post Office working in partnership.
When postmaster and shop owner, Mike Bunn and his wife Chris, announced their retirement recently, it was the pub licensees, Andy and Jenny Trowsdale who decided to take on the valuable service and retain it for the community.
With four years at the pub under their belt the entrepreneurial couple had heard that Pub is The Hub might be able to help during a chance conversation with the pub’s owners, Admiral Taverns. When they approached Trisha Hughes, the advisor for the organisation’s North East region, the couple discovered that they would be able to apply for a grant of £4,000 to help towards the cost of converting the pub’s disused pool room.
The new shop and post office is accessible through a separate front door but there will be access from within the pub as well. The grant from Pub is The Hub has helped to pay towards the cost of the conversion. Trisha Hughes commented: “The village’s valuable service was under threat of closure and Andy and Jenny stepped forward to keep it going. We were delighted to help in any way that we could.”
Opening times will be from 9am to 8pm on Monday and Tuesday and from 10 am to 8pm from Wednesday to Sunday. It will be staffed by Andy, Jenny and Donna Hodgson who will transfer from the current shop and post office but Mike Bunn will also manage several shifts to support the smooth transition. The shop will serve convenience items, newspapers, locally sourced fruit, vegetables, bakery and dairy produce as well as the post office service that the village currently enjoys.
Andy said: “When we heard that Mike was ready to retire what thought it would be a great opportunity to offer the shop and post office service from the pub. We’re open seven days a week and for long hours so it doesn’t take much to make the transition from pints to post!”
Supporting the move is the Post Office who have said the new Hinderwell Post Office will be delighted to welcome customers to the new branch. Local residents and small business customers will be able to access the wide range of Post Office and mails services, including Special Delivery, Local Collect, home shopping returns, and make online banking cash deposits and withdrawals, withdrawals of benefits using a Post Office Card Account, send funds abroad using Moneygram, pay bills, pre-order travel money, apply for travel insurance and top up mobile phones.
Post Office services will be available during the convenience store’s much longer opening hours, 9am – 8pm Monday and Tuesday and from 10am – 8pm Wednesday to Sunday.
When it came to finding a VIP to open the new shop and post office, Andy and Jenny didn’t hesitate to invite Mike to do the honours. Andy added: “Mike has done a fantastic job for Hinderwell for thirteen years and is well known and respected. It felt right that he should officially hand over the reins to our new venture.”
Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund was established with funding from the government and the drinks manufacturer Diageo PLC in April 2013 to help UK pubs to diversify into new services provision for their own communities. In launching the fund, Pub is The Hub recognised that good licensees today can work with the public, private and voluntary sector to improve the local economy and is able to provide grants of up to £4,000.
The photograph shows Christine and Mike Bunn, Licencees Andy & Jenny Trowsdale and Trisha Hughes for Pub is The Hub