One of the local charities where I live gives assistance to people such as myself who need help with shopping or other tasks. Jill, my wonderful cheerful volunteer is a boon. She helps me do supermarket shopping. A much less stressful experience than using the staff in the supermarket. (See my blog entitled Why the Difference?). Jill also willingly helps with other tasks that are hard for me to do.
Bright and breezy though Jill always is, her face darkens when I ask her to send a parcel or letter recorded delivery for me. The only post office near where I live is a Sub-Post Office, (the local main post office was closed a couple of years back) is not easily wheelchair accessible. On the one day I tried, accompanied by a friend to help get my chair over the door step, I was told that my wheelchair was too big to use inside!! The postmaster is not known for his sunny countenance or his speed. When I used to be able to walk into the sub-post office, he once yelled at me for moving a chair so I could sit down as the queue was quite long.
If posting a parcel is not an easy task, collecting one is harder. The local collection office is small and inaccessible. Again, when I could manage to walk in I used to sit on one of the two seats provided, and hope that I could keep my place in the inevitable long queue. But the seats were then removed, I never discovered why. So I resorted to driving into to the car park and tooting the car horn until someone took pity on me and collected my parcel for me.
Driving in and out of the sorting office car park is somewhat hazardous as it’s off a busy main road. It is also rather small, meaning no possibility of turning around. Resulting in having to back out, engendering some interesting hand signals from other motorists.
Having Jill helping me means I can wait nearby in a supermarket car park, whilst she collects my package for me. Making everything much easier and less stressful.
But why can’t all Post Offices and sorting offices be wheelchair accessible and have seating for those who need it? The main Post Office in Eastbourne, East Sussex is a superb example of how a Post Office should be.
I’m aware that some of the regulations for Crown Post Offices do not apply to Sub Post Offices, but accessibility and usability is essential so that everyone can use them freely. After all, we cannot go elsewhere, the Post Office still has a monopoly.