Capital Grant was given to provide a modular building to house the post office and provide space to accommodate a small retail outlet for the community of Middlezoy and surrounding villages to meet a clearly identified need. A modular building has been provided in the car park of the Methodist Chapel, Church Road, Middlezoy which is central to the village.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
With the closure of the Middlezoy Village Shop and Post Office in 2006, the community moved into action to establish the Post Office and Community Shop.
Following an open meeting in early September 2006, a very in-depth survey was constructed, delivered, and duly returned for dissection and research. Over half the households responded supporting the idea of establishing a new Post Office and Community Shop. Many offers of both financial and volunteer help were received.
The first task was to identify a site and then raise the necessary funds. Tthere were only two options for a site – the Village Hall car park, or the Chapel car park. The “Jewel in the Crown” just had to be the Chapel, because it is central to the village, it is easy to get at, and it is on a flat plain.
Vernon Robinson, the Parish Council Chairman, then approached the Methodist Chapel in Middlezoy who were “positively excited” about the whole idea. Various criteria had to be met, but in essence a basic agreement was made.
The project then had to be costed, so several companies were approached with regards a suitable building. Only one company showed any real interest in providing a building using the very high specification laid down by the Post Office.
After making various enquiries about grant aid, the Parish Council applied for a number of grants of which the principle funders were Somerset Rural Renaissance Partnership, The Post Office and Sedgemoor District Council. In addition there were contributions from the Parish Council, individuals and other community groups. In total some £41,830 has been raised in grants to cover both the capital and revenue costs.
The building was ordered at the end of June and delivered in August.
A small working group / committee was formed to help get the project on the move and in addition the village has found an “Old Postmaster” – the previous postmaster from a few years ago has now been officially appointed by the Post Office.
The post office is planned to be up and running in September, with the shop closely following, meaning it has taken just a year to realise the project.
The Post Office Rural Advisor and the Post Office Security Officer have both been fully supportive and have helped the parish council through the project.
Vernon Robinson, the leading force of the project said: “I would like to thank the many people who have supported us on this project. Make no mistake, we have done well, but we still have a long way to go. Middlezoy Post Office and Shop will need the community’s continued support for its survival. Don’t hesitate, give it! I’m often asked what advice I would give others when faced with a similar situation and I reply ‘grab the nettle’. “