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A competition launched today by Communities Minister Don Foster asks the public to suggest projects their local post office could start up to benefit the community.

Schemes could include mentoring for business start-ups, digital access and training, and display space for local producers. They must be innovative and support the local community or small businesses in the area.

Working with local residents and community groups, sub-postmasters in England can now apply for up to £10,000 from a joint £200,000 community enterprise fund from the Department for Communities and Local Government 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.

Launching the competition Communities Minister Don Foster said:

“Post offices, just like pubs and local shops, are often at the heart of communities and I want to give them an even bigger role in bringing people together.

“This competition will reward people and post office branches that work together to put forward great ideas for ways to benefit the local community.

“This project builds on the government’s community rights agenda, giving local communities the power to protect local assets and influence how local services are run.”

Over 90% of the population lives within one mile of a post office, giving people easy access to a wide range of services that they need on a daily basis. For many people the post office offers a crucial link to the wider world.

Paula Vennells, Chief Executive of the Post Office said:

“This is an exciting project where branches can be really innovative about how to support those in the community with their everyday lives. It builds on the long heritage of the Post Office as a nationwide business but with each branch rooted in its community and responsive to the needs of local people.

“Many sub-postmasters already offer facilities and services which go far beyond their core business. We want to help many more branches to strengthen their role as a community hub, by providing additional services or facilities which help local people, or by using sub-postmaster’s commercial skills to offer support to local groups and businesses.”

In many places in England, especially in more rural areas, post offices already offer much more than the usual post office services such as government transactions, financial and postal services.

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. Details of branches can be found at

DCLG and Post Office will convene a small judging panel comprising:

    • Department for Communities & Local Government;
    • Post Office Ltd;
    • Other external organisations with expertise in this area.

Judging will take place in autumn with the successful schemes announced shortly after.

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