POST OFFICE NIGHTMARE
Skint pensioners have faced weeks of misery
Elderly people are going hungry because they have been unable to collect their pensions from Rutherglen Post Office.
Mystery continues to surround the reasons for the branch closure, which has now entered its fourth week, but Post Office Ltd say it is due to “operational reasons”.
Community campaigners now say vulnerable people are going without essential food and household items because they have been unable to pick up payments.
They argue that whilst other branches in Burnside and Toryglen are open, elderly people may lack the mobility and confidence to travel.
Geraldine Baird MBE said: “One woman, a friend of my neighbour, she didn’t have much food in the house because she hasn’t been able to collect her pension.
“It is a number of factors that have culminated in this.
“It’s the closure of the post office, the elderly wanting to maintain their dignity and mobility problems – these things have culminated in this woman going without.”
Elderly people are going without food because the closure of Rutherglen Post Office has prevented them from getting their pension, campaigners say.
Community activists including Geraldine Baird, Martin Lennon and Ellen Bryson say the four-week closure of the Main Street outlet has put undue stress on vulnerable people.
The trio have written to Post Office headquarters to demand the counter, situated within the One Stop convenience store, be re-opened immediately.
Mrs Baird MBE, who established Rutherglen and Cambuslang Housing Association, said the closure was having an untold effect on the elderly.
She said: “One woman, a friend of my neighbour, it has transpired that she didn’t have much food in the house because she hasn’t been able to collect her pension. It is a number of factors that have culminated in this. It’s the closure of the post office, the elderly wanting to maintain their dignity and mobility problems - these things have culminated in this woman going without.
“This individual, we have done something about that, but I think there may be other people in that position that we don’t know about.”
Mrs Baird said mobility problems and a lack of confidence has seen pensioners fail to travel to other post offices in Burnside and Toryglen, as suggested by the Post Office hierarchy.
Martin Lennon, who is standing in the Rutherglen Central and North by-election for Labour, has a set up a widget on his website which acts as a petition and helps people register their concern about the closure with the Post Office.
“The widget generates emails which will be sent to the Post Office,” he said. “It registers people’s concerns about the closure and reflects how important it is and how vital these services are.”
Mr Lennon, together with Ellen Bryson, of the Liberal Democrats, has questioned why the Post Office has not given the reasons behind the temporary closure of the post office and why a contingency plan was not put into action.
Ms Bryson, who is the Lib Dem candidate in the election, added: “Local people are really upset about the unavailability of the Rutherglen Post Office service. It is high time for the organisation to give a timescale for its restoration and put in place arrangements to provide Post Office services particularly over the next couple of months.”
A spokesman for Post Office said: “We sincerely apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closure of Rutherglen Post Office. We understand and appreciate how much communities rely on our services. We would like to reassure customers that the decision to suspend services at any of our branches is never taken lightly. We take very seriously any decision to change the way a branch is operated, and will only do so when it is warranted by the circumstances of the particular case, for example to protect customers, Post Office assets or the safety and security of the Post Office network.
“We are working hard to restore services for the community as quickly as possible and hope to be able to provide more information on this in the near future.”
not good enough Community campaigners Geraldine Baird MBE with Martin Lennon of the Labour Party
Post Office campaign Ellen Bryson is calling for a quick solution