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Royal Mail launches the hugely popular Santa Mail to help deliver the nation’s letters to Father Christmas

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With just a few weeks to go until Christmas, Royal Mail is once again lending a helping hand to one of its most special customers, Father Christmas.

For 58 years, Royal Mail has been helping to make Christmas wishes come true by sending children’s letters to the North Pole.

Now Santa’s team of helpers at Royal Mail is gearing up to deliver the hundreds of thousands of letters sent to him by children from all across the UK. 

Axelle Galera, Royal Mail Chief Elf, who ensures children’s letters reach Santa at his grotto in Reindeerland in the North Pole, said: “Royal Mail plays a very special part in the nation’s Christmas preparations. We are proud that for 58 years, Santa has allowed us to help manage the hundreds of thousands of special letters he receives from boys and girls across the country. 

“His special team of elves at Royal Mail especially enjoy taking a peek at what children are asking for as well as helping Santa reply to these special letters. Don’t forget to include your full name and address on your letter so Santa can reply to you!”

Later this month, Royal Mail will reveal the definitive guide to what children actually want for Christmas, with a ‘Top 10’ list of the most wished for toys, in a unique poll based on the children’s own letters.

To ensure Santa receives your letter on time, please make sure you write to him, using the correct address, on a stamped envelope.

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Santa/Father Christmas,
Santa’s Grotto,
Reindeerland,
XM4 5HQ

Santa is happy to receive your cards and letters now but because of the very busy Christmas ahead, children should post their letters no later than Friday 10 December 2021.

For letters and parcels to other places in the UK, the latest recommended posting dates for Christmas 2021 are:

Saturday 18 December for 2nd Class, 2nd Class Signed For and Royal Mail 48®
Tuesday 21 December for1st Class, 1st Class Signed For and Royal Mail 24®
Thursday 23 December for Special Delivery Guaranteed®

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Royal Mail

No printer? No problem! Royal Mail will now bring labels and collect your parcel from your door

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The move enables customers without a printer to feel the benefit of Parcel Collect, where posties collect parcels for delivery while carrying out their delivery round.

The plans to deliver pre-printed labels are also aimed at bringing even more convenience to customers who are increasingly time-poor and may not want to leave home to drop off a parcel or wait in queues – especially during the cold winter months. As the festive season approaches, it promises to be one of the most convenient ways to post presents this Christmas.

Under Parcel Collect, customers arrange for their postie to collect their parcel from their doorstep. Customers using the service simply have to book a collection online (https://www.royalmail.com/collection) then signal whether they would like to order a self-adhesive, pre-printed postage label to affix to their parcel*. As part of the service, postmen and postwomen will collect a parcel from the customer’s door or nominated safe place.

Through Parcel Collect, Royal Mail collects from customers at their doorstep as part of our postmen and women’s daily round, which means no additional vehicles on the road resulting in fewer additional emissions and less congestion. With the UK’s largest “Feet on the Street” network of over 85,000 postmen and women, Royal Mail already has the lowest reported CO2e emissions per parcel amongst major UK delivery companies. 

As well as offering even higher levels of convenience, Parcel Collect enables online sellers and online shoppers to mail or return a pre-paid item by post from the comfort of their own home. Parcel Collect is available six days a week and can be booked up to five days in advance and up to midnight the day before. Parcel Collect is currently priced at 60p per item, inclusive of VAT, in addition to postage costs.

Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, said: “Every day our posties walk past every house in the country at about the same time. People know when their postie is going to deliver and now they can send or return parcels at the same time. If people aren’t going to be in, they can leave their item in a safe place for our postie to collect it and now if they don’t have a printer at home, they can ask their postie to bring the label with them. How convenient is that! As the nights continue to draw in and the weather gets worse, why go out when you can stay safe and warm and leave the hard work to your friendly local postie. And even better, many of our deliveries and collections are carried out by posties who walk their rounds – the greenest way to send and return.”

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The nationwide launch of label-less collections follows a trial of the service in four areas of the UK earlier in the year.

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Business

Post Office launches first ever loyalty scheme for parcel senders

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Post Office has launched its first ever loyalty scheme with financial rewards for users of its free, fast-track Drop & Go service.

Drop & Go customers increased fourfold in the run-up to last Christmas. The service is popular with small businesses, marketplace sellers and customers who started ‘bedroom businesses’ during the lockdowns. Approximately two thirds of marketplace sellers rely on Post Office’s 11,500 branches for their customers’ parcels.

Post Office will now reward customers that spend £100 or more per month with the Drop & Go service during November and December at their local branch.

Nick Read, Chief Executive at the Post Office, said: “The parcel market will see fierce trading throughout the critical Christmas period and Post Office will challenge for increased share with our first ever loyalty scheme for customers. Our physical presence in every local community across the UK, combined with the expert knowledge and advice Postmasters provide regarding postage, means we are well placed to support small and independent businesses during the busiest time of the year.”

The loyalty scheme has been created in partnership with Postmasters, who have also helped improve Drop & Go with new users able to access their account instantly with a simpler customer journey.

Post Office is launching a multi-channel marketing campaign: a partnership with eBay; advertising across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter; a Google My Business campaign; and advertising on podcasts popular with small and medium enterprises.

How the loyalty scheme works

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There are two “Reward Periods” (1 November- 30 November 2021 and 1 December – 31 December 2021). Existing or new customers need to spend at least £100 in one or both of the Reward Periods. Whatever is spent over £100 (regardless of the number of parcels or price of parcels) during each Reward Period will earn the customer a reward that can be redeemed to their Drop & Go account.

In the first week after each Reward Period has ended, the customer will receive confirmation of the value of their promotional reward along with a barcode that can be used in their local branch to apply credit to the customer’s Drop & Go account. The loyalty scheme ends on 31 December 2021.

(Lead image: Post Office)

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Pets

Dog attacks on postal workers drop by over a third during pandemic

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Despite the drop, there were 33 dog attacks on postmen and postwomen every week over the last year

Royal Mail has announced a 31% drop in dog attacks on its postmen and postwomen during the 2020/21 year, driven largely by the move to contact free deliveries during the pandemic.

There were 1,690 dog attacks reported last year, compared to 2,445 in 2019/20. Despite the drop, the number of attacks on postal workers still remains too high. In the last year, 33 attacks took place every week across the UK, with some leading to permanent and disabling injuries.

During the pandemic Royal Mail was the first company to launch contact free delivery enabling its colleagues to deliver mail and parcels at the doorstep while adhering to social distancing measures. Under the revised process, colleagues place larger parcels on the doorstep, then step aside to a safe distance while the customer retrieves their item.

closeup photo of brown and black dog face

Renewed calls for dog owners to take more responsibility

As Royal Mail launches its ninth successive Dog Awareness Week, the company is appealing to dog owners to ensure they understand the often devastating impact of dog attacks on postmen and postwomen and take proper measures to ensure their pets pose no threat to postal workers through responsible dog ownership.

Despite the introduction of a new delivery process, the majority of dog attacks at 41% (690) still took place at the front door. A further 31% of dog attacks (520) took place in the garden, driveway or yard. Over 20% of attacks on postal workers (340) took place through the letterbox. And 8% of attacks (130) took place in the street or road.

Dog attacks on Royal Mail colleagues resulted in more than 900 days of absence in 2020/21 with the longest period of absence being 127 days. Royal Mail knows that dogs are not inherently dangerous. But, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels either it or its territory is being threatened.  Royal Mail is committed to ensuring the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers across the length and breadth of the UK and in every community.

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Top 10 areas for dog attacks:

The BN (Brighton) postcode area had most incidents reported during the year, with 58 postmen or postwomen suffering dog attacks. This figure is up from 53 in 2019/20 – an increase of 9%. This is the fifth consecutive year that the BN postcode area has featured in the Top 10 list for dog attacks on Royal Mail’s postal workers.

The S postcode area (Sheffield) saw the second highest number of dog attacks with 55 Royal Mail postal staff attacked. This figure was down 13% on last year’s 63 incidents. The S postcode area has appeared in every one of the Top 10 list for dog attacks on Royal Mail postal workers since the inaugural Dog Awareness Week in 2014.

The BT postcode area (Belfast) placed third this year with 49 attacks. However, this figure is 35% down on last year’s total, that placed the area in the No.1 spot with 75 attacks. The BT postcode area is another region that has appeared in every Top 10 list since Royal Mail began releasing figures on yearly attacks.

The PO postcode area (Portsmouth), with 43 attacks on Royal Mail staff, is in fourth place. This represents a 32% drop in attacks from the previous year, that saw 73 dog attacks and placed the area in second place overall for attacks. The PO postcode area has featured in five out of the previous eight Top 10 lists for dog attacks.

The IP postcode area (Ipswich) is placed in fifth spot with 41 dog attacks on postmen or postwomen. This figure matches the number of attacks from the previous year. This is the second consecutive year that the IP postcode area has appeared in the Top 10 list for dog attacks.

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Completing the Top 10 areas for dog attacks on Royal Mail postmen or postwomen in the last year are:

  1. TN (Tunbridge Wells) = 39 attacks
  2. GL (Gloucester) =35 attacks
  3. NG (Nottingham) = 33 attacks
  4. AB (Aberdeen) =31 attacks
  5. BS (Bristol) = 30 attacks

Julie Mundy, a postwoman for 19 years, based in Nantwich, Cheshire, tells her story:

A dog attack, in Nantwich, in 2019, left Julie Mundy off work for three months, and terrified if she heard so much as a bark on her delivery round.

“I was delivering a parcel to a customer. I had never seen a dog there because the owner had always kept it out of the way. On this occasion, somebody else came to the door for the parcel and brought the dog with them. Like many others, they tried to hold on to the dog while at the same time trying to accept their mail. This time the dog broke free and dived straight at me. I started back because I just wasn’t expecting it and I fell on the curb in the garden and broke my hip.

By then the dog was on top of me but I couldn’t move – but I didn’t realise at that point I had broken my hip. The customer came and dragged the dog off me and another neighbour from across the road came over to help. My arm was bleeding where the dog had bitten me because I had been trying to cover my face. The neighbour from across the road cleaned me up and bandaged my arm and called an ambulance. I had to remain on the floor in the garden as I couldn’t walk.

I spent five days in hospital. The pain was horrendous. I was subsequently off work for three months. The police decided not to prosecute the owner. Instead, Royal Mail took the owner to court. The dog’s owner received an 18-month suspended jail sentence.

Following the attack, I have suffered from post-traumatic stress. As soon as I hear a barking dog, I freeze. It never used to bother me that much but I’m not as confident as I used to be.

If I had to give our customers one piece of advice, it would be, please don’t bring your dogs to the door with you to accept your mail or parcels. People are becoming more aware that they can be prosecuted if their dog bites anyone visiting their property for work.”

Tim Murray, a Parcelforce Worldwide delivery driver from Plymouth, tells his story:

A dog attack in 2020, in Newton Abbott, Devon, left Tim Murray frightened of dogs – including his own. The driver based at Plymouth’s Parcelforce Worldwide depot recalls his long journey back to physical and mental health.

“I’d been aware of a dog at the property for a long time – but not of the breed or nature. I gave the owner a thumbs-up as I spotted him in a nearby field walking two dogs. I was delivering a parcel and, as he made his way to the gateway to collect it, one of the dogs paced up and down the fence line until he found a hole big enough to escape.

It dawned on me that this dog wasn’t trained – and that it was about to attack. The owner called his name. But it was too late. The dog had already bitten my hand. I was in a world of pain and shock, attempting to defend myself with my steel-capped boots, trying to keep the dog at bay. But the damage was done.

I was the owner of a playful puppy at the time. I began avoiding him in fear of him jumping up or nibbling me. He would try and cuddle into me, bring me his toys and not leave my side. It’s taken me over a year to enjoy the sight of another dog. I had an operation on the tendon in my hand and was in hospital for several days. I was told to avoid work for a week and only undertake light duties for six weeks.

Raising Awareness:

Dr Shaun Davis, Royal Mail Group Global Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability said: “We are pleased to see such a significant decrease in dog attacks on our staff this past year. However, 33 dog attacks per week on postal workers is still alarmingly high. We are aware that a change in our delivery procedures was the main factor for the reduction in attacks this year. So, we are asking our customers – and our colleagues – not to become complacent as there is still much work to do in bringing the figure down even further. The safety of our people is of paramount importance as they work hard to keep the UK connected.”

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Communication Workers Union, National Health and Safety Officer Dave Joyce said: “Dog attacks remain a major safety hazard and concern for postmen and postwomen across the UK and the scale of the problem shouldn’t be underestimated.  33,000 postmen and postwomen have been attacked by dogs in last decade.

“Over 80% at the front door, garden path or drive. 1000 dog bites through the letterbox in the last five years – many seriously injured and some losing fingers.

“On average, 33 postal workers are attacked every week last year alone. There has been a huge increase in dogs purchased by new owners, during the pandemic. This may add to postal workers’ problems as recent research tells us that many of these dogs haven’t been trained or socialised.

“The key objectives of Dog Awareness Week are firstly to remind the public to be aware of their legal and moral responsibilities to control their dogs and help prevent dog attacks on postal workers who have been heroes working through the pandemic as key workers. And secondly, a message to our postmen and postwomen to be vigilant, keep safe and take no risks.”

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Legal Prosecutions:

Royal Mail say they continue to push for changes in the law to reflect the severity of these attacks as a further form of protection for its people.

In a statement, they said: “Following changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act in England and Wales that came into force in May 2014, Royal Mail has carried out over 25 private prosecutions against dog owners. This has punished offenders and further raised awareness. It is hoped that these actions will prevent further attacks by forcing owners to put in place proposer control measures to ensure a dog does not attack again.

“We have also successfully launched two actions in the High Court that settled the law in relation to the criminal liability of dog owners when postal workers have their fingers bitten while posting items through a letterbox. These cases clarified the law in this area The law now forces dog owners to take positive steps – such as fixing a letterbox guard or keeping the dog away from the letterbox at all times – in order to prevent some of the terrible injuries suffered by our colleagues.”

(All images: Royal Mail)


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