Depot Focus – London Central
We visited the London Central depot where our drivers are getting ready for a busy day in the capital whilst the team also show case our new Self Serve kiosk, which is on trial in the depot, alongside Milton Keynes and Newcastle.
From the outside, it seems like any other Victorian terrace in the heart of Camden. That is until you reach the sign that confirms you’re at Parcelforce’s London Central depot.
Built in 1998, the site had to be in keeping with the rest of the street – and that meant putting a historic-looking brick façade front on what is, just a few metres back, a large warehouse filled with parcels being loaded onto vans, ready for 12,000 daily deliveries.
Operations Manager Steve O’Connor has been with Parcelforce for more than 27 years, but first joined the Camden depot a decade ago. Joining as a Driver in London, he used to deliver to nearby Kings Road and Knightsbridge. “I loved it”, he explains. “When I stopped, a Chanel store gave me a giant bottle of perfume and I’m pretty sure my mother still has the bottle! That’s the beauty of working here – a lot of the managers start as drivers and there’s so many opportunities to progress within the company. It’s the people on the floor that make it all happen.”
With 186 colleagues, including drivers and office workers, the depot has 85 routes across central London, going past internationally renowned sights including Big Ben and the Tower of London.
And the team do their best to help the local community in Camden too, regularly raising funds for charities and vulnerable children in the area. Customer Service Provider Suki Takhar is in charge of giving the drivers their delivery manifests every morning, but she’s also the ‘go-to’ when it comes to charity work, alongside her colleague Annette Dolan, who works in the customer service department. “As well as raising money for Royal Mail Group’s partner charity (Action for Children this year) we pick a charity every year to help. Last year, it was Prostate Cancer UK. We also know a local boy called Troy. He has cerebral palsy spastic diplegia and can’t walk – we clubbed together to buy him an electric bike to ride. He loved it!
“At Christmas, we wrapped an empty cage in festive paper and put toys and presents in it for children in Camden who are in need or in the care system. We then took them all to the town hall and met the Mayor. We just want to give back to our local area and support the community as much as we can.”
One of the longest-serving drivers at the depot is Devon Stewart, who has been in his role at Parcelforce for 25 years. Being on the Westminster route means he’s used to seeing the capital’s iconic buildings. There are even a few surprises. He says “People never believe me when I tell them there’s a cafe under the Houses of Parliament, but there is! I’ve been on this route for 16 years now and it’s very unique, and very busy! You have to take your time, but I love seeing the joy on someone’s face when you deliver something they’ve been waiting for.”
Why not take a visit to our London Central depot and meet some of the team yourself? You can book online and drop off at the depot, or opt to print your labels (using a simple mobile QR code) or complete your booking using our self-serve kiosk, which is currently being trialled.