South East Wales

Caerwent Post Office struggles to find tenants

Sarah and Simon Woodfield

If you have ever wanted to become a post master or mistress, this could be your chance.

Caerwent Post Office in Monmouthshire is facing closure as illness is forcing its current tenants to leave.

Sarah and Simon Woodfield, who took on the post office just over four years ago, said they have made it the "hub" of the rural community.

But they are struggling to find someone to take over the business - and its accompanying house.

They have advertised the property but despite lots of interest, nobody has made an offer, Mrs Woodfield said.

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Media captionSarah Woodfield on the pros and cons of running a post office

She is now concerned locals - many of them elderly and unable to drive - will end up feeling isolated as all other shops in the rural village have closed down.

Their next nearest post office would be in Rogiet or Caldicot.

"The clock is ticking. We just want someone with the enthusiasm and vigour to take the post office forward," said Mrs Woodfield.

The post office has been the centre of village life since 1932.

After taking it on four years ago, the Woodfields, who are local to Caerwent - revamped it and decided to stock "a little bit of everything" that people would need, from groceries and gifts to coffee and fresh cakes.

But they are being forced to stand down after Mrs Woodfield was diagnosed with fibromylagia - a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body and extreme tiredness - and struggled to run the branch full time.

The Reverend John Waters, parish priest of St Stephen and St Tathan, said the post office was valued in the community.

"For example, people know I'm here on a regular basis so they know that if they can't get hold of me any other way they can leave a message with Sarah and she will ensure I get it," he said.

"So it's all working together to promote communication and caring about each other and each other's needs."

At that point any potential new operator would submit a business case and undertake the normal Post Office recruitment processes.

The Post Office spokesman said it would work to try to find someone else to run the branch if the Woodfields were not able to find anyone.

He said the number of post office closures in Wales had remained stable over the last three years, with 931 currently open. In 2015 the figure stood at 930 and in 2016 it was at 919.

"We would like to reassure customers that the Post Office is committed to maintaining a Post Office service in Caerwent and will work hard to ensure this," he added.

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