He is one of the country’s youngest sub-postmasters, but Neal Gurney is not short of ambition when it comes to improving local Post Offices. Still only 29 years old, just weeks after winning a national award for his existing Post Office on Thunder Lane in Thorpe St Andrew, Mr Gurney has just taken on Acle Post Office and has big plans for the new branch.
Mr Gurney is hoping to secure a slice of a £1.34bn package of investment announced by the Post Office to improve its branches around the country. This is a national three-year investment programme for around 6000 branches in the UK. He said “If we can convince Post Office Ltd that the Acle branch is worth investment I’m sure it would benefit the village hugely. It would enable us to improve the service provided and the environment the staff work in. We should hear whether they’re willing to invest in the next couple of weeks, I’ve got my fingers crossed!”
At age 21 Neal took over his first Post Office and staked his claim as ‘Britain’s youngest Sub Postmaster’. Since then he’s been working tirelessly to improve the branch, recently being rewarded for his efforts by winning ‘Best Agency Branch’ out of approximately 11,000 other Post Offices. He now has his sights set on making Acle Post Office an award winning branch too.
Mr Gurney said “I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to improve the Acle branch. The first change I’ve made is to extend the Saturday opening hours.to 5:30pm. Opening 6 days a week until 5:30pm will make it more convenient for people to visit the branch”. If his investment application is successful the Post Office will be fully refurbished throughout giving it modern, up to date feel. The shop will benefit from a wide range of gifts, a brand new selection of greetings cards and a designated pet food area. “I aim to breathe a new lease of life to the Post Office, ensuring it remains a vital hub for the community”. Said Mr Gurney
For the last eleven years the Post Office at Acle has been run by Nigel and Brenda Law. They, along with the help of their staff have made improvements to the Post Office over that time. One of the biggest changes they made was when the village pet shop closed. They took the opportunity to introduce pet food in to the shop which was well received by local residents and is now a key part to the business. Mr and Mrs Law are now retiring from the Post Office and approached Mr Gurney in November 2013 to see if he would be interested in taking over. After passing the interview process with Post Office Ltd Neal took over the branch on 3rd June 2014.