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COMMUNITIES AND ECONOMIES BOOSTED BY POST OFFICE FUND

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Post offices in some of Wales' most isolated and deprived communities benefited from investment from the Welsh Asse...
Post offices in some of Wales' most isolated and deprived communities benefited from investment from the Welsh Assembly Government's Post Office Development Fund (PODF), reveals an evaluation report.

The jfkdjfdkljfdklfjdklfjdklfjdklfjdklfjdsklfjdsfkldsjfkldjsfkldsjfkldsjfdklsfjdsklfjdsklfjdsklfjdsklfjdsklfjdsfkljdsfkldjsfkldsjfkldsfjdklsfjdklsfjdklsfjdkslj'Evaluation of the Post Office Development Fund' states the£4.1m funding from PODF - which operated between November 2002 and March 2006 - had a positive impact on the commercial viability of post offices at risk in rural and deprived areas and reported a high level of satisfaction among customers.

Eight post offices and associated businesses that would have otherwise closed remained open due to PODF and almost all the post offices that received funding saw improved commercial viability, with increases in retail income and customer numbers.

Minister for social justice and regeneration, Edwina Hart said: 'I am pleased with the results of the report. PODF has had a positive impact on communities; it has created new jobs while also assuring the survival of others.

'Local communities and economies also benefited from the scheme, with almost all grant recipients noting an improved access to post office services in their area. As the grant programme was nearing its end it was important to assess its impact.

'However, the evaluation recommends that no further Assembly Government funding be made available to post offices until the UK government and Post Office Ltd have reached agreement on their future direction and funding, and unless it can be established with reasonable certainty that funded post offices would remain open for at least the medium term.'

The 'Evaluation of the Post Office Development Fund' considered the extent to which PODF achieved its objectives, and assessed the impact on funded post offices and their local communities, while also informing government thinking at UK and Wales levels about any future funding for post offices.

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