A vicar has stepped in to save a town’s post office by letting it relocate – to his CHURCH.
Around 40,000 residents faced travelling more than a mile to a proper post office after theirs shut and a temporary one opened in a portacabin in a car park.
But their prayers were answered when Rev Simon Tillotson and his congregation at St Peter’s Church in Whitstable stepped in to give the Post Office a new home.
Down from the altar and beside the pews, the four counter fully-functioning shop has been set up and is open six days a week – but it unsurprisingly closed on Sundays.
Rev Tillotson said it is a “win win situation” for the church which has a congregation of just 20.
He said: “I think churches could easily be ignored by the community because we are living in such a secular society.
“Churches have to find ways to become relevant and be used by the community.
“This move for me is about using the church to help the community but also make people aware of the church.
“It was my idea to bring the post office into the church to make the church better known.”
The post office in Whitstable shut in 2015 so it could be redeveloped into flats.Following a sit-in protest re-opened in a portable container in a car park but residents had to queue outside, and it was freezing in winter and roasting in summer.
It had to be shut for temporary repairs in January this year and in a bid to retain the service the Church of England stepped in earlier this month.
It’s only the second ever post office in a church, after one opened in St James in West Hampstead in 2014.
The post office will be operating for at least a year before a permentant home is found, and the company pay rent to the church.
Andy Wright from the Post Office said: “We were pleased to be able to move Whitstable Post Office to much improved premises before Christmas and the on-set of winter.
“We really want to thank the vicar Rev Simon Tillotson and his congregation for letting us use their building, which will really benefit the community.
“Longer term the plan is to open a Post Office in a permanent location in central Whitstable.”