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MP urges community to put schemes forward to Post Office business fund

July 22, 2013 1:46 PM

Tim Farron with local residents at a Post OfficeSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has called on local residents to suggest projects their local post office could start up to benefit the community, following the announcement of new funding to boost rural communities.

The fund has been set up to support businesses through mentoring for business start-ups, digital access and training and display space for local producers. Successful schemes must be innovative and support the local community or small businesses in their area.

Working with local residents, sub-postmasters across England can now apply for up to £10,000 from a £200,000 community enterprise fund from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Post Office. Branches will suggest suitable projects, which must be not for profit but provide a service, activity or support that are easily accessible and open to all.

In many places in England, especially in more rural areas, post offices already offer much more than the traditional services such as government transactions, financial and postal services. A branch in the Cotswolds for example provides free internet access. Another in the North East is based in a disused pub and combines Internet access with a health centre and a nursery.

The funds are available for sub-postmasters in English post office branches, working in consultation with their local communities. The competition is not open to Crown branches.

Members of the public who wish to suggest projects should speak to their local branch manager by Friday 18 October 2013. See details of branches on the Post Office website.

Tim said: "Post offices, just like pubs and local shops, are often at the heart our communities and this fund could allow us to do even more. I hope that local businesses and residents suggest ideas. The fund could offer small businesses in our area to little bit of extra help they need."