Batley postmaster wins local hero award for his efforts during the pandemic
Community-minded postmaster Ismail Loonat’s kind-hearted initiatives during the pandemic have helped to boost business as people are showing loyalty to his Batley shop.
In one of the toughest 18 months for the UK and the British High Street, the postmaster at Batley Post Office has managed to grow the bottom line of his business by supporting his local community. His revenue is up by 10 per cent due to more people visiting his store.
A Post Office spokesperson said: “While months of lockdown have driven some High Street trade online, both for his retail business and his Post Office services, Ismail has noticed a new type of customer coming through the doors of his branch on Upper Commercial Street, Batley.
“As businesses across the country have had to find different ways of doing things, Batley Post Office has been at the centre of day-to-day tasks for a lot of local businesspeople.
“Banking and mail products have increased as businesses turn to local Post Offices for services that would have been done in a city centre bank branch or corporate office.
"With people working from home and banks opening fewer hours, Ismail’s branch was the only place to access cash for a lot of local people over the counter after 3pm, essential for many people working through the day.
“Ismail, who has been a postmaster for 28 years, is well plugged-in to his local community. He promotes his branch on Facebook and local forums such as the local food bank, the local community centre and the council to drive business.
“It’s not just businesses who are using Ismail’s branch more - local charities and community organisations have been working with him to find ways to carry on delivering their services to local people.
“A local charity, One Nation, needed to send out hard copy publications but with in-person services closed, the Post Office was a lifeline for them keeping in contact with their clients and supporters.
“Ismail offered a discount on the envelopes needed for the mailing and even parcelled them all up with his team to allow the charity staff to focus on providing front line support.
"This did not make Ismail much cash but it meant he built a new commercial relationship with the charity and won him life-long supporters in his local community.
“This relationship with charities has built up in a number of ways.
“At the start of the pandemic the One Nation charity offered Ismail £1,000 to buy bread, milk and eggs so he could give these out for free to people who needed them.
"The plan was that this would last for four weeks - he ended up doing this for four months and even had the local Morrisons supermarket providing free produce too.
“At the start of the pandemic Ismail bought a bulk pack of face masks and gave these out to people who needed them when they entered the store – he was the only local business making masks available for free and his local community have thanked him for that by being loyal customers as we emerge from lockdown.”
For going the extra mile during the pandemic, Ismail was presented with a Post Office local hero award.