Rural Post Offices can be a hub for the community

I had the honour and privilege of opening the new Hilperton Post Office this week which was a fantastic experience, meeting lots of local community members and sharing the passion for this vital new local service.

The staff were enthusiastic, passionate and real champions for the community and I am continuously amazed at the amount of services the post office is able to offer to its users.

I am sure that this facility will enhance what is already a vibrant community in Hilperton and can be an asset to the whole constituency.

It is often easy to take for granted the services that exist in our villages and smaller communities, such as local post offices and community centres.

I am acutely aware of the pressures many of these are under am launching my rural constituent survey in the coming weeks, which will give the opportunity for people in these communities to speak directly to me around local concerns and opportunities and I look forward to hearing views from across the constituency.

One of the greatest benefits a local post officer can bring is to provide a community focus and help to break down the economic and social isolation which people of all ages can be impacted by.

Since 2010, £2bn has been invested to maintain, protect and modernise the post office network and I will fight to ensure that our constituency continues to benefit from such investment.

Social isolation is a real concern, not just in rural communities but across all areas of the UK. While much is being done nationally I believe there is no one single solution that can tackle loneliness and we need to come together as communities to tackle this at the grass roots level.

On the back of the success of my Mature Matters Forums across both Chippenham and Bradford on Avon, I am rolling this out to small communities across the constituency, starting with Westwood in October and Atworth in November.

These are fantastic community forums, bringing people together and sharing local concerns and views so please do let me know if you would like to attend, as I hope to hear from as many people as possible.

I am back in Parliament now but running weekly advice surgeries as well as the Mature Matters forums. If you would like to book a slot then please contact my office on 01249704465 or email me at michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk and I look forward to hearing from as many constituents as possible.