Northumberland ambassadors help to boost tourism

Northumberland Ambassadors.
Northumberland Ambassadors.

A training programme designed to enrich Northumberland’s tourism industry by inspiring workers and volunteers throughout the county will restart in autumn.

The Know Your Northumberland Ambassadors Programme, now in its third year, aims to improve and develop the skills and knowledge of frontline employees and volunteers working at visitor serving businesses across the county.

Participants can choose to learn from a range of course subjects including media, customer service and even cooking the Northumbrian way, and can also embark on local discovery days at different locations in Northumberland.

Delegates can work towards gaining bronze or silver certificates, or a gold Ambassador Status diploma, depending on the number of courses completed.

More than 120 participants have now taken part with 27 receiving Ambassador status. The programme is organised by Active Northumberland and accredited by Northumberland College.

This year, 67 participants took part from a variety of Northumberland-based businesses including Leaplish Waterside Park; Springfield Farm, Seahouses; pubs, B&Bs, hotels and self-catering accommodation; museum staff from the National Trust, Baillifgate and Old Gaol, Hexham; Forestry Commission and Northumberland Tourism.

Ten participants received a Gold Ambassador award for completing seven or more courses on the programme. An awards ceremony was held at Northumberland County Council this week to present the Northumberland Ambassadors with Northumberland College-accredited certificates.

Speaking about her time on the course, Jenny Kinnear, senior TIC and library assistant at Corbridge Tourist Information Centre, said: “Although I thought I had a good general appreciation of the many and varied visitor attractions in our beautiful county, the Know Your Northumberland familiarisation courses have greatly added to my knowledge, taking me to corners of the county I had never visited before and giving me invaluable experiences to pass on to our visitors.

“New experiences to remember and share include the fascinating visit to Blyth Battery, the up close and personal sighting of the wild cattle of Chillingham and the walk across the border on the historic Union Chain Bridge. I was able to use my newly acquired knowledge directly when a visitor came in asking about a Stone Age village near Wooler.”

The Ambassadors will receive a quality mark to put on their website and publicity plus a certificate acknowledging their achievement. As well as a badge to proudly mark their status, the Northumberland Ambassadors will have the knowledge to inspire visitors staying within our county and celebrate Northumberland’s many assets.

Northumberland County Councillor Val Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, said: “Congratulations to everyone who has taken part in the ‘Know your Northumberland’ programme. It is excellent to see that so many businesses involved in local tourism are welcoming our visitors to our county to enjoy our attractions and stay longer.”

The latest Know Your Northumberland courses will launch in autumn. Anyone who is interested in taking part can email Sarah Davidson, senior visitor information and infrastructure officer on Sarah.Davidson@northumberland.gov.uk or by phoning 01670 622567.