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New volunteer ambassador scheme to help showcase city’s tourism

Awards presentation to the new Volunteer Tourism Ambassadors

IF you’ve ever fancied sharing your passion and interest in local tourism and heritage then a new scheme could be just up your street.

Visit Leicester has launched a new Volunteer Tourism Ambassador programme, aimed at getting a diverse range of people involved in showcasing heritage events, cultural activities, visitor attractions venues and hotels throughout the city.

The volunteering scheme offers participants a chance to get free training, learn new skills and gain access to tourism events while being part of a busy team promoting the best that Leicester has to offer.

And now the first cohort of volunteer tourism ambassadors have completed their training and are ready to showcase the city to visitors. Along with their enthusiasm and local knowledge, the new volunteers also offer an impressive range of languages spoken including Cantonese, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese and Punjabi.

Danka Neuborn, from Oadby, was the one of the first volunteer tourism ambassadors to attend the new training course earlier this year. She said: “I am Leicester born and bred and see becoming a Volunteer Tourism Ambassador as a fantastic opportunity to showcase the city’s tourism offer to visitors and residents.”

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This is a lovely opportunity for people with an interest in tourism, culture and the city’s visitor attractions to get involved in this exciting volunteering project.

"Tourism is a vital part of the city’s economy, bringing in millions of pounds every year, and will play a vital role in showcasing some of our highlights for visitors to Leicester."

Once fully trained, the volunteer tourism ambassadors will be provided with a uniform to help them be easily recognised by visitors to the city. Along with welcoming visitors to the city, work could include providing information, guidance and recommendations on what to see and do during their visit to the city; conducting tours; sharing local knowledge about the city’s history, culture, architecture and communities; and, supporting the city’s annual festivals and events programme. They will also help showcase key Leicester venues and attractions including the King Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicester Cathedral and Heritage Learning Centre, Jewry Wall, the National Space Centre, Great Central Railway and Leicester Museum and Art Gallery.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and will need to be able to commit to a minimum of 12 volunteering sessions, spread over one year.

Leicester city centre director Sarah Harrison said: “We are looking for volunteers from diverse cultural backgrounds who are passionate about tourism and hospitality and are comfortable with meeting and interacting with people.

“If you speak other languages or know British Sign Language, we would love to hear from you too.”

The city council will provide information and presentation to help new volunteers better familiarise themselves with what the city has to offer in terms of tourism and equip them with key skills and knowledge for the role.

A short online course in customer care and related key skills is provided by Leicester College.

Jennie Porter, programme area manager at Leicester College, said: “We are proud to deliver and be working in partnership with Leicester City Council to offer a unique opportunity for volunteers. Here at Leicester College, we will be delivering key customer service elements which not only support the local economy, but most importantly encourages more visitors to our vibrant and diverse city.”

In 2022, the value of Leicester’s tourism was over £700 million and supported over 7,000 jobs. The city welcomed 10 million visitors, resulting in five million overnight stays at the city’s growing number of exciting new hotels.

More details of the tourism volunteer programme are available from Visit Leicester, or by contacting Gitte Magielse, Leicester City Council tourism project officer, at Gitte.Magielse@leicester.gov.uk or by phone on 0116 454 0199.