Much-loved West Boldon post office 'highly commended' at national awards ceremony
A much-loved village post office has been honoured by judges as it narrowly missed out on a third prestigious national award.
West Boldon Post Office and Village Store was ‘highly commended’ at the Independent Community Retailer of the Year at the Retail Industry Awards 2021, a glittering ceremony held in London and hosted by the Last Leg comedian Alex Brooker.
The judges named a branch of Premier in Kent as the winner. But the West Boldon team is still rightly proud.
The branch won the Independent Retail Post Office of the Year category in 2019, and was also named Newsagent of the Year at the 2020 National Federation of Independent Retailers awards.
The Addison Road business, run by couple Katie and Sean Hudson since 2017, is treasured in Boldon, where customers say it does much more for the community than sell stamps and groceries.
It recently organised the successful ‘Totally Locally market to boost small businesses. Another is planned for Christmas, when they will also collect presents for children again to be distributed by a nearby foodbank.
When Katie and Sean took over they introduced a free “ring and bring” delivery service for less able residents. In 2020 they raised money for a defibrillator outside the shop.
Their Macmillan Coffee Morning last year was forced outdoors by Covid. So they made it the longest coffee morning possible, in terms of length, with tables strung between West and East Boldon raising £3,000.
They have also set up a box for foodbank donations, festooned the Boldons with poppies for Remembrance Day and been at the centre of celebrations on the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
They also sold sanitiser at no profit during the pandemic, sold face masks made by volunteers with the profit going to the community laundry and more.
It’s easy to see why the judges were impressed. Even more remarkable is that the shop is so small, occupying just 33 square metres.
Sean said: “We were delighted to have reached the national shortlist in what was a very tough field, given everything that small retailers around the country have been doing and continue to do for their communities.
“It would have been nice to win, but at the end of the day we have all the recognition we need from the community we serve.”