Pick up a pint with your stamp at Kettering post office

A post office has been given permission to sell alcohol in what is the latest in a line of branches which are diversifying in order to attract more business and survive.

Earlier this week postmaster Bobby Singh, who works at Edmund Street Post Office, Kettering, was granted permission by the town's licensing committee to sell alcohol and open for longer.

In his application Mr Singh said: "We offer a range of greetings cards, stationery, sweets and cold drinks and would like to extend our service by being able to sell alcohol to the community, along with extended opening hours.

"Staff will be trained to ensure no alcohol is consumed on the premises, alcohol is refused to anyone who appears drunk, ID is required of anyone who appears under the age of 21 and alcohol will be refused to anyone who is seen to be a danger to the public."

The decision to allow the branch to sell alcohol comes after many Post Offices which escaped closure earlier this year have sought new ways of ensuring they stay open.

In Geddington, postmaster Patricia O'Doherty and her husband Patrick opened at tea room in April and plan to develop it into a restaurant later this year.

Mr O'Doherty said: "We decided to open the tea room to expand the services we offer here. We get people from surrounding villages where Post Offices have closed come in, use the post office and stay for a drink.

"Other Post Offices are going to have to look at ways of attracting more people to show how important to the community they are."

In Stanwick, the village Post Office and shop has been nominated for the Best Village Shop category of the 2008 Countryside Alliance Awards. Sub postmaster Vernon Frost took over the business with Steve Ware and Neil Brailsford in July 2007 and since then business at The Shop @ Stanwick has tripled.

Since the new owners took over, the business has begun sourcing products from local producers, has launched a popular Italian coffee takeaway and put up tables and chairs outside the store.