In 1987 it was realised that to remove the Royal Mail from legal implications of holding a monopoly on mail delivery, they allowed Charities to deliver Christmas Cards for Christmas period from Nov 25th until Christmas Day.
The 4th Ipswich Scout Group established the 1st Scout Christmas Post service in Ipswich. For 5p a card they established many collection points and advertised the service to the people of Ipswich. Despite this being a new and untried system for Ipswich they received 5,873 cards. The groups leaders, parents, family friends and supporters all rallied round to deliver the cards across the whole town.
The following year it took off. The group collected 18,159 cards. With over 200% increase in the amount of cards collected this firmly put the service on the agenda as a major fundraiser for the group, allowing them to stop regular bingo nights which were less profitable and more time consuming. The service continued to prosper under the 4th Ipswich and saw an increase in cards virtually every year until 1998.
During these years the 1st, 2nd & 31st Ipswich Scout groups had started their own delivery service. Those services had prospered too and it was in 1999 that the groups got together to combine the service into one service for the town run by the groups jointly. All groups ran their own collection points and sorted the cards separately. They then divided the town into quarters so that each group was responsible for delivering their own area. We also divided the income, half the money to the group who collected the card and the other half to the group that were responsible for delivering it.
This system has prospered ever since. We have merged with a neighbouring system in Kesgrave and then Martlesham Heath. The 18th Ipswich have shared the 2nd Ipswich’s quarter and more recently we have joined with the 1st Claydon Scout group to extend the service to Claydon, Gt & Lt. Blakenham, Barham and Bramford. The 1st Westerfield joined in 2014 offering deliveries to Westerfield, Henley, Tuddenham and Witnesham Then in 2016 we joined forces with the Felixstowe service to offer deliveries to Felixstowe, Trimley St. Mary, Trimley St. Martin and Kirton.
The system now handles in excess of 100,000 cards a year providing a reliable and charitable service to the people of Ipswich. Our running costs are minimal, being run completely by volunteers with the generous support of local businesses and establishments. All proceeds go towards the running and upkeep of the individual Scout groups involved.
Our Thanks go to everyone who acts as a collection point, helps with the sorting and of course the deliverers. Many of whom have helped since 1987.
Also our thanks go to the general public who over the years have posted over 1.5 million cards into the Ipswich Scout Christmas Post system. We are sure you will agree that this not only provides a cheap means of sending your Christmas Cards but also supports the Scout groups so that they can continue their work with the young people of Ipswich.