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Author: Johnny Clingham

Postal and courier services to St Helena – is it really that difficult

Recent discussions about the difficulty of receiving regular mail on St Helena in a reasonable time frame has left many recipients disappointed,  Air freight customers have also reported long delays even when using dedicated freight forwarding services to St Helena that attract a premium rate has not been totally satisfied. 

An investigation carried out by St Helena online into how the process of trying to get regular mail and goods couriered quickly to St Helena has resulted in the following..

We all know that logistically St Helena is a difficult place to get anything delivered to, whether it is a simple letter, a much needed spare part for an appliance or a replacement car part. 

Royal mail to St Helena. 

The question was raised with Royal Mail in the UK about the postal service connectivity to St Helena, Royal mail advised that specific items sent from the UK to St Helena is the aim is to be delivered within five to seven working days after posting.

When asked about what if mail or parcels get lost? According to the royal mail, an item being sent is only considered lost if it’s not delivered within 20 working days after that date it was due to be delivered. For an item going to the rest of the world, it’s 25 working days. If any items haven’t been delivered within these timescales, they advise the sender in the UK to complete a claim form for the loss of the items.   

Freight service agents view.

In speaking directly to some of the main St Helena air freight forwarding agents based in the UK the experience varied with the Air freight service that goes out via Joburg, some reported the odd delays whereas another was experiencing longer delays. In most cases St Helena air freight services in the UK relies on third party services to move air cargo to Joburg using the DHL transport service connecting the goods with Air links cargo services that will then fly the couriered items to St Helena. It was also noted that the best service to the Island was experienced via the previous direct Titan charter flights that was laid on by the St Helena Government during the pandemic.

Airlinks response to cargo delays.

When speaking directly to Airlink SA who is the service provider for both  passengers and cargo operations to the Island,  they explained that given the limited flights and available cargo capacity and the number of passengers and  luggage traveling to the Island,  it is rather unfortunate that they are unable to do great cargo uplifts from Jo-burg. This results in solicit guidance and assistance from the agent Solomons on the priority of the cargo and this in turn gets discussed with the St Helena Government  and a priority list is  given to work off. The priority list is pharmaceuticals, medication, diplomatic mail, DHL goods and perishables. It is hoped that with the introduction of weekly flights from the 8th October could minimize the extended offloads and stress this brings to all on the Island.

Jamestown post office

On St Helena, the Jamestown post office is operating business as usual with regular mail being distributed around the world to normal destinations such as the United Kingdom, all of the european countries including Italy, Portugal, Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Australia, Seychelles, USA, and as far as Japan and the rest of Asia. The post office on St Helena is also responsible for processing orders for stamp and currency collectors which continues to be successful.

Outgoing mail from St Helena is sent via Capetown on each call of the MV Helena, some letter and documentation is sent on the flight via Jo’burg, and also letters and packages can be sent on the Airlink flight via Ascension if there is space availability.

Lead times on mail sent via Ascension Island also depend on RAF flight availability, small parcels and mail is also dispatched on the MV Helena quarterly visits via Ascension. Incoming mail to St Helena is normally received via Capetown on the MV Helena or via the Ascension Island flights and the MV Helena when she sails from Ascension Island. 

Any one sending parcels to the Island that is over 2kgs should expect it to take longer to reach the Island as these are normally despatched via shipments and in most cases will go to South Africa before being sent to St Helena. It is highly recommended that written within the address to dispatch mail and parcels via Ascension Island, as this is proven to be the most reliable and faster route, it is also recommended to keep the parcel weight just under 2kg. If you are sending anything to St Helena remember to use the postcode STHL 1ZZ as the royal mail system is designed to route the mail correctly to St Helena Island on the South Atlantic.

Help us to raise funds to fund two TVs for clients of the CCC

All.

I saw an advert today, on St Helena.

The advert in summary said “help us to raise funds to fund two TVs for clients of the community care complex or what is known locally as the CCC.

For those who don’t know, the CCC is the complex where the elderly on St Helena are cared for when they need that extra care or when they can no longer be cared for at home.

It took a while to get my head around the advert as to why the clients of the CCC on St Helena cannot enjoy something simple in life that we take for granted every day.

Tonight, I decided to reach out to one of the organizers to try and understand the situation, 

Immediately one of the organizers responded with a voice call all the way from St Helena to explain and in short two TV’s will be ordered from the UK and will be shipped to the Island via the transhipping service. 

I have decided I need to work out a way to help in some way; for those who know me other than the person who pops up every now and then and also looks after St Helena Online, I am passionate about anything Island related and I want to make a difference, under normal circumstances I am a little too proud to openly ask for help, and I never seek recognition for anything I do for St Helena, On this occasion I just want to help and improve the quality of life and help the clients of the CCC.

I have a simple idea to share, however before I do I want to gauge your interest to include the over 4k members connected to this St Helena group  to see if you are willing to consider helping also?

Take a little time out, don’t be alarmed, it’s only going to be a small ask by way of a small donation of choice to go directly to the clients of the CCC. (I know times are tight)

If there is enough interest then WE YES WE TOGETHER can make a difference to change someone’s life.

I would also like to add that you might not have to use this service of the CCC on St Helena but you might have a friend or relative who will have to call on this service sometime in their life.

Share your thoughts and please share this post.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Johnny Clingham.

More info here on the Facebook group

Vivienne Ponsford

St Helena’s Commonwealth games team – Birmingham 2022 -Profile photo credit – Kirk Stevens

Meet Team St Helena who will be competing at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Competitors are Poppy Davis-Coyle, Vivienne Ponsford, Brooke Yon, Duwaine Yon, Joshua Yon, William Caswell, Stefan Thomas, Sean Crowie,  Aiden Yon-Stevens, Veron Smeed and Tye Leo-Stroud.

Team officials along with Brooke Yon, William Caswell, Stefan Thomas, Aiden Yon Stevens flew from St Helena to Johannasburg and then on to London to join the rest of the team. 

On arrival in the UK the team along with the team officials were based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire where they had enjoyed world class facilities and had been training for the last 18 days in preparation for the games in Birmingham which is due to start tomorrow 28th July 2022, the opening ceremony is due to start at 19:00 BST 

covid 19

COVID-19 Quarantine arrangements changed

Great news for all who are thinking about returning or visiting St Helena in the next few months because the Incident executive group on St Helena has reviewed St Helena’s response plan to COVID-19 and a decision was taken to implement a quarantine period for only 10 days instead of the original 14 days. 

The isolation bubble requirements have also changed.

All Air freight arriving on the flight will no longer be delayed by 72 hours and will be reduced to 24 hours. 

The home quarantine five metre boundary requirement will also be lifted.

The COVID-19 testing process for all air travellers to St Helena remains the same whereas COVID negative test result must be carried out 72 hours prior to departure and any traveller with a positive test result will not be permitted to board the the flight at Stansted Airport to St Helena, a  test will be conducted on arrival on St Helena and a test on the final day of quarantine will be conducted and travellers will only be released from quarantine if their test results are negative.

During a discussion with member of the IEG, it was mentioned that flights are being investigated to continue from the UK with Titan Airways as a result of the COVID situation in South Africa, so let’s get those seat belts fastened and ready for take-off especially for those of you who are planning to come this way subject to dates having been published.

Visiting St Helena from November to January is very popular for families and friends to return and visit for the Christmas and summer months.

St-helena-tourism

Good bye “The last from us”


Enterprise St Helena and the St Helena Tourism team shot what looks like their final moving St Helena promotional video  which was posted online today.
Staff from Enterprise St Helena and St Helena Tourism with brave faces waved goodbye to the camera  with their usual smiley faces, but no doubt it came with heavy hearts as staff left their offices and job positions for the final time today.
A large percentage of the ESH and St Helena Tourism staff had spent over ten years working for the organisation promoting and working on investment strategies for St Helena including the 2019 investment prospectus that documented some of the possibilities for St Helena. 
The responsibilities of investment and Tourism for St Helena will now be managed by The St Helena Government.
There is no official word on how St Helena’s tourism will operate in the future, however the St Helena Government had previously announced a tender for the opportunity for private sector interest to manage the St Helena’s Visitor Information Service (St Helena Tourism)  ‘Destination St Helena’ This contract was said to be worth up to £100,000, and it was state to be in place from the 1st April 2021(tomorrow) until 2024. 
Staff from the ESH and the tourism team also post final day photos and goodbyes on Social media reminiscing of their achievements and workplace memories over the years, unfortunately as a  result of the decision to close Enterprise St Helena and St Helena Tourism, staff are now made redundant.

Saintel

SAINTEL: the ISP on St Helena

saintel

‘Saintel’ St Helena’s new potential internet service and communication provider announced this week that they are launching their new business venture as an Island wide Internet service provider tailored for the future needs of St Helena.

The Wireless thinking provider has promised that everyone from residential to business users on St Helena will benefit from the 21st century capability that is due for rollout in 2023 providing they can get the government’s approval to deliver the service.

The question you might ask as a local internet user or visitor returning to St Helena in the future is what is going to be different about Saintel.

Forward thinking and long-time campaigner of internet connectivity to St Helena Christian von der Ropp together with Karl Thrower, a local business owner here on St Helena, who is behind the Saintel venture have set up the provider to operate as a non-profit organisation.

Saintel’s vision is to offer eighty percent of the Islands population the option to connect to the Saintel wireless high speed network within the first 12 months, they are also keen to share their network capability with international tech companies who want to trial and develop other technologies within the industry.

Some of Saintel’s published business objectives once the fibre optic cable is connected to St Helena are:

  • To provide affordable, reliable, high speed access to residential and businesses users on St Helena through a non-profit entity.
  • Support the Island community, embracing the digital transformation.
  • Help to mitigate the issues arising from St Helena‘s remoteness through the many new possibilities offered by the Internet.
  • Increase digital literacy and develop local skill sets through the correct training in digital technology.
  • Stop capital outflow (a key economic problem here on St Helena) caused by monopolist‘s dividend payments to its overseas parent. Instead, help to create more local circulation of money
  • Support the global Information and Communications Technology industry to trial new technologies, applications and products.
  • Collaborate with potential satellite earth station operators (infrastructure sharing) to unlock synergies and make St Helena more attractive to earth station operators.

Saintel will be incorporated under the laws of St Helena as a non-profit Private Limited Company by Guarantee. Saintel’s vision is to enable one of the most isolated communities in the world to join the global Information Society and to leapfrog into the broadband age and contribute to closing St Helena‘s digital divide.

Saintel’s plan or the market entry  of any another communications service provider on St Helena will only be possible if SHG allow competition by removing the exclusivity clause provided in Sure’s current license

Note the current exclusive public telecommunications licence with Sure SA Ltd will expire at the end on 31 December 2022, so no new provider could start operation before 2023

St Helena Government is in the process of a tender process to determine the next Public Electronic Communication Networks and Services provider/s for the Island.

St Helena online welcome any thoughts on expectations as a customers post fibre optic cable delivery on St Helena.  

st helena

From Discovery to Discovery

A one-day conference ‘From Discovery to Discovery’ brings St Helena based organisations and researchers together to share and exchange knowledge and experience, show casing the diversity of research being conducted on land and sea.

This event which will be held on the 12th November 2020 at the St Helena Community College, Education Learning Centre, Jamestown, This event will mark the first year of operation of the St Helena Research Institute and seeks to celebrate the wide range of studies being undertaken and to highlight the benefits that research is bringing to society and our environment.

The speakers programme will include.

The behind the scenes look at historical research; an investigation into the genomes of Jonathan the Giant Tortoise, the oldest known living land animal, the Island’s honey bee, new discoveries of endemic invertebrates, bone sharks, tropic birds and in shore marine habitat mapping: trials and tribulations of agriculture on the Island, new studies developing control methods for alien invasive invertebrates and vertebrates, tourism marketing, health promotion and teenage well-being.

The event will conclude with an open discussion centred on the question “What is the role of Science, Research & Innovation?”

The conference is open to everyone on St Helena to attend in person.

Unlike other Island conference’s there will be no live coverage on Island or via the internet but presentations will be made available for the local radio and online.

Information about the conference programme and speakers are available on the St Helena Conference website: https://st-helena-conference.com/

St-Helena

Competing in the London marathon on St Helena.

Neil Foster will join over 40000 other competitors from around the world to compete in the virtual London marathon on Sunday 04th October. Neil’s run will take place virtually on St Helena which is possibly the remotest participant joining the virtual marathon; St Helena is also going to be one of the most challenging places in the world to compete in any marathon due to the Islands very hilly terrain and size. Neil, the Canadian-born passionate runner describes living on St Helena, in the middle of the South Atlantic, as one of the most isolated remote places on earth.

Neil will have to run across the Island, touching three of the four sides, to meet his 26.2 mile goal to achieve the distance of the marathon. Neil will begin his run from a popular post box walk starting point at the South West of the Island before heading along Frenches Gut passing Cason’s forest towards the Sandy Bay Ridges, up to the summit of Diana’s peak (820m asl) continuing on towards Hutts Gate, and Longwood road passing the famous Napoleon’s house on the way to the St Helena Airport.

Neil chatting about his run with Aerobility online.

The run will include a run around the St Helena airport runway before completing the final leg of the marathon towards the newly built Airport haul road on to the final point in Rupert’s valley. Neil is also hoping to have live data tracking for most of the run.

The 26.2 mile marathon route (click to view) .

St Helena’s Active Participation in Enterprise, or SHAPE as they are more commonly known on St Helena, will be the main supporting body for Neil’s run on the day. SHAPE, is St Helena’s first and only social Enterprise charity which was established in 2008, SHAPE plays a crucial role in supporting the island’s disabled and vulnerable adults who could face social exclusion. SHAPE provides supportive training opportunities through environmentally friendly projects.

Neil’s run will raise money for the UK based Aerobility charity, which has similar social objectives to SHAPE on St HelenaThe Surrey based Aerobility organisation is a disabled flying charity that tackles the isolation that disability can sometimes lead to. Aerobility’s specially adapted aircraft flies from airfields around the UK and every year supports over 600 individuals. No doubt the community on St Helena will be behind Neil on his run, as St Helena is not only a special place for community spirit but also a great place for any challenge.

To support Neil’s challenge and to help disabled people to find their wings and help them to fly.  


You can donate or sponsor Neil here

Jamestown

HUNKY DORY – The Jamestown way

The Jamestown way

Local song writer and musician Christian Castell who lives in St Helena releases his new fantastic single today “The Jamestown way” the catchy locally produced song will certainly be one of those that will get stuck into your head especially for anyone who can relate to the way of life on St Helena.
Chatting to Christian today, he said the song reflects the reality of living in Jamestown’s capital.
The song quotes some of the famous local lingo “hey how you doing?” The lyrics relates to Bobby playing his records by the castle and how Eddie ain’t the governor yet,  when I ask what that meant I was told that Eddie Duff is hoping to be the Governor of St Helena one day but it ain’t happen yet.
The song also reflects on Darkar days when there is no fish, but life goes on the Jamestown way. Christian said James Fantom deserves the praise for his amazing talent for helping to produce this great song the Jamestown way.
Local radio stations will play the song for the very first time today and you can hear the final production here. 

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