Corra had a chat with Adil Bashir, who along with his brother Asif Bashir recently won the ‘Best Post Office in Scotland’ award for going above and beyond during the pandemic. Loanhead Post Office won the award after hundreds of customers voted for them as the ‘post office that went the extra mile’ in the nationwide contest. Both brothers have been running the family business in Loanhead for the past 20 years.
Here’s what Adil had to say,
“A lot of post offices closed when lockdown first started back in March, but we stayed open. We are a community Post Office and we know all our customers; their families, mums, dads, their kids, and even their kid’s, kids. We had a responsibility to ensure that we just didn’t abandon our Loanhead community. We knew we had to do it safely, so we ordered in safety screens and got to work.”
“During lockdown we updated our Facebook page every day with stock that we had in the shop. We ordered in masks, gloves, anti-bacterial sprays and handwashes in for the community. And if people were struggling and couldn’t come into the shop, then me and my brother delivered to their houses free of charge. We have vulnerable customers and we wanted to help them as much as we could. We did this by offering them and others a priority service, which helped when people went through the panic buying stage. We also helped out at local foodbanks too.”
Adil and Councillor Pauline Winchester, Foodbank delivery
Both brothers, Adil and Asif admit it wasn’t easy.
“We have families of our own, our children and a mum who is in the ‘high risk’ group. So, it was always in the back of our minds that we were putting our loved ones at risk. But we couldn’t let our Loanhead family down; especially during coronavirus when they actually needed us the most.”
The right thing to do
“We didn’t do it for an award. We did it because it was the right thing to do for our community and to get recognition for that, is kind of amazing. Some elderly people weren’t able to leave the house and some people were shielding. We knew people were struggling.”
“I was making daily trips to Glasgow at 6am to get as much stock as possible to keep our customers going. It wasn’t about business, but looking out for humanity. Muslims often get painted in a bad light in the media, but as Muslims, Islam teaches us to be kind, to look after your neighbours and give charity and that’s what we try to do.”
A message to their customers
“Thanks to the customers for their votes, and the nice messages and congratulations being sent to us in the shop and online. To be honest, it’s all about the community helping each other, that’s all that matters.”
Midlothian MP Owen Thompson has personally congratulated and thanked the brothers for their dedication and commitment to the community during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. MP Owen Thompson has also raised an Early Day Motion at the UK Parliament to mark Adil and Asif’s achievement. You can read it here:
Adil had some thoughts on recovery post coronavirus.
Support for small businesses
“Nationally, more government support and commitment to smaller businesses and the self-employed, would be great to see.”
“It happens so often [racism], to people we know, to us…we just get on with it. It’s a part of daily life. We can let it bring us down; that people judge us on the colour of our skin or our religion, or we get on with it.”
“It would be nice if the kindness and compassion that everyone showed to each other and communities during covid-19, continued in the future.”
“In reality, people shouldn’t need to rely on the goodwill of charities and communities running foodbanks to feed their family.”
Huge thank you to Adil for sharing this story of kindness and compassion in response to the coronavirus crisis and sharing so openly his experiences of racism and Islamophobia. The Bashir brothers commitment to supporting their local area highlights the power of communities. Congratulations on your well- deserved award.
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