Janette Woodhouse, who runs the Royal Oak at Bere Regis in Dorset has moved the village post office service next to the bar to ensure its long-term survival with support from rural pubs organisation, Pub is The Hub.
Janette has been running the 16th century coaching inn on West Street for just over six years, catering for the local community and visitors with food, drink and accommodation. For the last four years she has also been the local post mistress, operating from a shop about 100 yards further up the village high street.
The village of Bere Regis consist of around 1800 people and like most rural areas is struggling to keep essential services going. With the post office service under threat Janette decided to take it under her wing by moving it lock, stock and barrel into the pub.
Janette approached Pub is The Hub for advice and was also able to apply for a grant of £3,000 from their Community Services Fund to support the cost of refurbishing an area in the pub for the installation of the counter.
The Post Office in the pub also has a printing and copying service with two lap tops available for use by customers and the community. There is a large smart TV which can be used as a visual aid for local information, presentations or meetings and many customers have already started combining their visit to the Post Office with a coffee morning in the pub.
Janette said: “I am very grateful to Pub is The Hub for helping us with this move. Reg has helped to liaise with the Post Office and came up with the idea of providing lap tops and printing to complement the service and to encourage people to use the pub as a meeting space during the day. However, I definitely couldn’t have done all this without all the support from the local community, they have been amazing.”
Reg Clarke from Pub is The Hub added: “Janette not only supports the Bere Regis community with her pub, restaurant, letting bedrooms and now the Post Office, she also helps two other nearby villages by delivering an outreach postal service to them – she is a true community champion. Janette truly has the interests of her community at heart and I’m pleased that we could help her to locate all (most) of these services under one roof. We wish her and Bere Regis well in this new venture.