Clayton Bay's post saved by new service at community hall

Mail for all: Angie Daw and Letho Kostoglou took over the Clayton Bay postal service with only two weeks' notice in December last year.
Mail for all: Angie Daw and Letho Kostoglou took over the Clayton Bay postal service with only two weeks' notice in December last year.

When the former provider of Clayton Bay's postal service gave up the contract in December last year, it looked like the town would face a postal blackout during Christmas and into 2021.

Australia Post deliveries were to be spread between Milang, Langhorne Creek, Finniss and Goolwa, meaning some Clayton Bay residents may have been forced into travelling for about an hour simply to collect a letter.

It was at this point that local retiree Angie Daw and the Clayton Bay Community Association stepped in to save the post.

Ms Daw took on the contract for a three-year period, and with the support of the Association and the Alexandrina Council, has since been running the postal service out of the Clayton Bay Community Hall.

Along with Community Association vice-president Letho Kostoglou, Ms Daw now runs the postal service five days a week.

"My husband and I moved here to retire two years ago and I never imagined I'd be working again," Ms Daw joked.

"But it was either that or lose the postal service and Letho and I worked it out together and said 'let's do it'."

Ms Daw said it was important that a local postal service continued.

"We're a predominantly older community and there are people here who don't drive," she said.

"We wanted the service to stay in Clayton Bay so we approached the association about running it from the hall, which they kindly agreed to, and we were also supported in that endeavour by the Alexandrina Council who own the premises."

A flow on effect from running postal services at the community hall has been the development of a number of community programs.

While collecting their post, customers have access to free fresh fruit and vegetables provided by the adjoining community garden, as well as seedlings offered by the Clayton Bay Nursery.

Tea, coffee and snacks are offered on Wednesdays and locals are given the opportunity to socialise in a relaxed environment.

"Angie's vision was that if the service came here, it would hopefully attract more people to the hall," Mr Kostoglou said.

"It's since turned into a real social hub for the community."

Ms Daw said people felt comfortable coming to the hall to utilise the service.

"We catch up and have conversations and make sure to check in on people if we haven't seen them in awhile," she said.

"People are coming in who don't usually come to community events. Because they have to get their mail, they are here socialising which is just wonderful."

Mr Kostoglou said the community had got right behind the service.

"When we were getting set up, we had lots of offers of donations and people asking how they could help out," he said.

"The association initially held a community consultation on running the service from the hall and most were happy for it to come here."

Ms Daw is now in the process of having 48 post boxes installed at the site for out of hours collections and aims to also have parcel lockers available.

The postal service currently operates 12pm-2pm Monday through to Thursday and 4pm-6pm on Friday.