Durham Pointers sign
Georgina Wilczek

Member Article

Durham Pointers Seeks Extra Volunteers

The Durham Pointers mobile signposting service in Durham city centre is hoping to recruit another 10-15 volunteers as the high season reaches its peak.

Warmly applauded by tourists and residents alike, the Durham Pointers service has exceeded all expectations since its launch in June. The 54 welcoming, pink-uniformed volunteers in the Market Place are currently answering an average of 100+ enquiries a day between 10am and 3 pm and this is likely to rise during the school holidays to such an extent that Pointers’ organisers are now seeking to attract up to 15 more Pointers to help cover holidays, to provide an extended service till 4pm on weekdays and to cover the August Bank Holiday from 11am – 3pm. Indeed if the support is forthcoming plans are in place in 2013 to provide some additional cover for Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Esther Ashby of Durham Pointers says: “We couldn’t have achieved what we have done so far without our volunteers and we are absolutely delighted with their enthusiasm and commitment, even to the point of taking on additional shifts to try and cover any shortfalls”.

Queries cover the whole spectrum – from the commonest (‘How do we get to the Cathedral?’ and ’Where are the nearest toilets?) to the most detailed (‘Where is an expensive lingerie shop for a wedding nightgown?’ and ‘I need a car insurance broker now!’) to the most unusual (‘Do you know about the Myra Hindley window in Durham prison?’).

As well as giving directions to places of interest, the Pointers are ideally placed to advise visitors on how to access more detailed tourism information. They also help motorists adrift in the city centre, explain the location of park and ride bus stops and answer public transport queries.

The Durham Pointers project is funded by Durham Area Action Partnership until the end of September 2012 but organisers are confident that its success to date means that additional days on Bank Holidays and at Christmas may be possible this year. It is hoped that due to the scheme’s value, new funding will be forthcoming for the 2013 season.

All those interested in becoming a Durham Pointer should contact Giles Radford on 07582 332621, info@durhampointers.co.uk or www.durhampointers.co.uk. Shifts generally last two hours and involve standing in the Market Place.

A Similar Initiative: Durham’s Coach Meet & Greet Service:

The Durham Pointers is the second initiative launched by Durham residents and businesses this year to help guide tourists around the city centre. Four of Durham City’s most visited tourist destinations, Durham Markets, Crook Hall and Gardens, Durham Cathedral and Durham University (represented by the World Heritage Site Visitor Centre) have also combined to provide a Meet and Greet Service for coaches, every Monday through to Saturday from 9.30am and 11.30am, until the end of September.

Serving an average of 20 coaches per week, volunteers provide visitors with maps of the City, details of any events on in the City that day and a food voucher for the coach driver. The service is much appreciated by passengers and drivers alike and when linked to the Pointers in the Market Place provides a warm and effective welcome to the City to its visitors. It is hoped the two services can be successfully combined as one service next year.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Georgina Wilczek .

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