Powys: A Day in the Life




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Social conditions

Rural services

Illus. By Rob Davies

A subject occupying the minds of many people in Powys on September 24th 2002 was the decline in rural services - Powys being very much a rural community. A lot of attention was focused on this particularly at this time due to the March for Liberty and Livelihood organised by the Countryside Alliance which had taken place two days earlier and which many of our diarists had attended.

  • I lived in Aberangell from 1970 but came here in 2002 when village shop closed and bus service almost disappeared.
  • Drove to Newtown, calling at Carno Post Office to post two packages which needed weighing, and to pick up a GUARDIAN . The Post Office in Bont gradually declined - when we first came here it was part of a useful village shop. The shop eventually closed and the basic post office service was provided in somebody's house two mornings a week, but even that closed a few years ago. So packages have to be taken to a post office although I seldom make a special journey, fitting the need to do this around other car journeys. The GUARDIAN used to come with the morning post from a newsagent in Newtown until the Royal Mail (or whatever) decided to charge the full commercial postal rate and the newsagent could no longer cope with the resulting admin work in the time available. ….

    The Post Office at Carno
    The Post Office at Carno
    Safeway in Newtown
    Safeway in Newtown
    Illus. By Rob Davies
    Ever since we came to Bont there has been a mobile butcher on Fridays, but earlier this year new EU regulations forced the current mobile butcher to introduce a new system as it is no longer permitted to sell meat from a van without a special licence. I tried this system for a few months but it is not really satisfactory - cannot see meat before purchase, have to be here on Thursday to take phone call from butcher when he rings up for order (or make alternative arrangements) and then be here to receive and pay for it on Friday. So now I go to same butcher when I'm in Newtown on Tuesday, as I feel independent butchers should be supported. However, I don't know how long principles will outweigh convenience!

    Then went to Safeway to do our major shop of the week. If I were asked to nominate one thing that has changed the face of this part of Wales in the last decade or so, I should be tempted to say the arrival of Safeway in Newtown. Free parking and the ability to one-stop shop and then wheel out the trolley and unload it into the car boot improves the quality of life no end. Frequently meet other Bont inhabitants there too! It would be sad to see the shop and PO in Llanbrynmair go, but there is really no comparison in terms of convenience.

Also bought petrol in Safeway - a small discount to people who've shopped in the store. There used to be 3 garages selling petrol in Llanbrynmair and I moved my custom from one to another as they gradually closed down. Now it is necessary to make sure that one has enough petrol to get to nearest garage (11 miles away at Caersws). Use Safeway whenever possible but like to have tank half full in case of emergencies.

Another lady has significant problems due to the scarcity of public transport .

It also effects younger people. A high School student wrote:

  • I live in a small village. There is nothing to do around me and none of my friends live here. The good thing about where I live is that everyone pulls together and helps each other. It mostly has old people and only has 6 or 7 houses. there is a church, a postbox and that is it. The nearest town is 3 miles away where some of my friends live.

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