Facebook bid to help post offices

A CAMPAIGN to save under-threat rural post offices is using a well-known social networking website to get its message across. Essex County Council is fighting the Post Office's plan to close 31 branches in Essex as part of cost-cutting measures.

A CAMPAIGN to save under-threat rural post offices is using a well-known social networking website to get its message across.

Essex County Council is fighting the Post Office's plan to close 31 branches in Essex as part of cost-cutting measures. Twenty six branches in Suffolk also face the axe, although some will be replaced with outreach services.

Staff have now decided to use the Facebook website to get its message across to a younger generation which it says will also be affected by the changes.

It is thought to be one of the first moves of its kind nationally by a council and by last night a handful of supporters had already signed up.

An Essex County Council spokeswoman, said: “We want to make sure that our messages get out to as many people as possible and to make Post Office Ltd realise that this is something all Essex residents are concerned about.

“Facebook is an excellent way for residents to get involved and have their voice heard.

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“It is also a good way for them to interact with us and to tell us what they feel and make us aware of any interesting information.”

The name of the group is Fighting for Essex's Post Offices.

The council, which also has its own on-line petition, has called for the Post Office to extend its six-week consultation period so all options to save branches can be explored.

Council leader Lord Hanningfield warned this week the closures could see communities destroyed and the “spectre of ghost villages”.

The EADT has also re-launched its Save Our Post Offices campaign, with more than 500 people already backing the move.

Sheila McCann, post office network development manager for east Essex and Suffolk, said: “Taking the decision to close any branch is always very difficult and we know will cause concern to many of our customers.

“We want to ensure that everyone who uses, relies on or has any concern with Post Office services is both fully aware of the proposed changes, and able to give views on them.”

The Government has said the post office network is unsustainable in its present form, with new technologies and changing lifestyles meaning people use them less.