The heart of the community

Linda Bracewell shares how she seized an opportunity to run the community's only post office within her pharmacy.

If the pharmacy is the hub of a community, then Baxenden Pharmacy can only be described as a ‘super-hub’. As well as being a Healthy Living Pharmacy, it also runs the community’s only post office.

Linda Bracewell, who has run the independent pharmacy in Baxenden agreed to take on the local post office after it looked set to close, following the death of the postmaster. The closure would have meant residents travelling by bus into Accrington town centre when they needed access to post office services.

For a significant number of the pharmacy’s customers, this would have been difficult.

‘Some of our customers are very vulnerable. They can get to us on foot, but getting a bus into town is harder and some of them are drawing several hundred pounds in pension from the post office,’ says Linda.

In September 2012, the pharmacy-cum-post office began. The business model used by Post Office Ltd is called ‘post office local’, which means that the pharmacy gets a proportion of each sale of services.

Linda can see great potential in health promotion. The post office is attracting a different type of customers, such as young men who are mailing out items sold on eBay, and Linda believes there is an opportunity to target them with health campaigns, such as smoking cessation.