To celebrate the launch of the new Cuckfield Post Office, Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames ‘cut the ribbon’ at an opening ceremony on Friday morning.
Cuckfield Post Office and store closed last October due to the retirement of the Subpostmaster.
In December, Giles Darling took on the shop and refurbished it to sell cards and stationery.
Recently the Post Office re-opened at these modernised premises.
Customers can now enjoy a bright, new, modern retail environment at the branch at High Street, Cuckfield.
It offers Post Office® services from an open-plan Post Office till at the retail counter during shop opening hours: Monday to Friday: 09:00-17:30; Saturday: 09:00-13:00.
Mr Soames said: “I welcomed the news that Cuckfield Post Office was to re-open.
“I am delighted to be here today to congratulate Giles Darling on his hard work to open this new-look branch.
“The Post Office is vital to the community around Cuckfield and I’m sure the new improved office will be warmly welcomed by all of my constituents.”
New operator, Giles Darling, was until recently a civil engineer, which involved a lot of travelling.
Mr Darling, who was born in Cuckfield and has lived in the village most of his life, relished the opportunity to reopen the store and Post Office close to his home.
He took on two members of staff who had previously worked at the store and a new employee with Post Office experience.
All are trained to serve Post Office and retail customers.
Mr Darling said: “People have been overwhelmingly positive about the fact I re-opened the Post Office and store.
“We serve the south of Cuckfield and communities to the south, but we also attract people from the estern side of Haywards Heath as there is lot of free parking outside, which is very convenient.
“Customers think the Post Office and store looks bigger, but that hasn’t changed.
“It is however, brighter and fresher.”
Caroline Hoare, Post Office field change advisor, said: “We understand how important having a Post Office is to residents in Cuckfield and I am confident this new modern Post Office will meet the needs of the local community and secure services for the future.
“This modernisation is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office and marks a commitment to no more branch closure programmes.”
Under the current Parliament the Government has committed £1.34bn for the Post Office network to make sure there is no programme of Post Office closures and to update branches; in November the Government announced a further £640m investment in the Post Office network, from 2015 to 2018.
Nationwide the investment programme will see up to 8,000 branches modernised with additional investment in over 3,000 community and outreach branches.
The Post Office, now independent of Royal Mail, is the largest retail network in the UK, with over 11,500 branches.
It is also one of the fastest growing financial services companies and is developing its online and telephony services.