People working in visitor-facing roles in Norwich are invited to take part in a pilot training session for the city's inaugural Ambassador Scheme, designed to encourage people who come into contact with both visitors and local people to act as champions and passionate ambassadors of the city.
Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) is setting up the scheme to reinforce a culture of pride and enthusiasm in Norwich, and encourage the provision of consistent, high quality, accurate information about the city and its heritage and cultural offer to visitors and local people. It is intended that the scheme will be of interest and relevant to a variety of people including front line guest accommodation staff, taxi drivers, information point operatives in shopping centres, shop staff, market traders and members of the public.
HEART is looking for people to take part in a free pilot on Monday, 21 June from 4.30pm - 8pm at the Assembly House in Norwich. It will be delivered with VisitNorwich Ltd and be a fun, stimulating and interactive session. All attendees will receive a buffet dinner and a programme pack to take away with information about HEART, the iconic Norwich 12 buildings, useful general Norwich information and vouchers for money-off at some of Norwich's key attractions. As this is a pilot programme, attendance will be free of charge and HEART will be asking participants for feedback, in order to ensure future sessions are as relevant as possible.
Michael Loveday, Chief Executive of Norwich HEART said: 'Norwich has so much for locals to be proud of and shout about to visitors - world class heritage and a vibrant cultural scene to name just two. We hope the Ambassador Scheme will inform and inspire participants to act as champions and passionate ambassadors of the city.'
Clare Millar, Head of VisitNorwich, said: 'In order for Norwich to compete as a leading UK destination, constant vigilance and improvement in the businesses, people and welcome that go to make up the visitor experience is essential. We need to ensure that every step of the visitor journey, from planning to booking to arrival and time spent in the city, meets and exceeds expectations. Norwich's first Ambassador Scheme is a great way of helping the city to achieve this.'
The Ambassador Scheme forms part of HEART's SHAPING 24 project, a cultural heritage and tourism initiative which takes forward the Norwich 12 project with the Belgian city of Ghent. The Scheme links in with other areas of the project which aim to maximize the access and enjoyment of the 24 outstanding heritage sites within the project, through site improvements, volunteer training, improved signage and promotion, events and education activities. The project is funded by the European Union's European Regional Development Fund (INTERREG IVA 2 Seas Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013).
For more information, to book a place on the pilot session or find out about future sessions to be held in July please contact Sophie Harrison at HEART - email@example.com, 01603 599578.
Notes to editors
For more information please contact Christina Lister, Communications Manager at Norwich HEART on 01603 599570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
About Norwich 12
Norwich 12 is the UK's finest collection of individually outstanding heritage buildings spanning the Norman, Georgian, Victorian and modern eras, offering walks and tours; visitor attractions; exhibitions; music and performances; cafes and restaurants; and gift shops. It is a pioneering heritage concept that is developing 12 of the city's iconic buildings into an integrated family of heritage attractions which will act as an internationally important showcase of English urban and cultural development over the last 1,000 years.
Norwich 12 comprises: Norwich Castle, Norwich Cathedral, The Great Hospital, The Halls - St Andrew's and Blackfriars', The Guildhall, Dragon Hall, The Assembly House, St James Mill, St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Surrey House, City Hall and The Forum.
Norwich 12 is an initiative by Norwich HEART, which secured £1 million from the Treasury's Invest to Save Budget for the project to initially run 2006-9. The ERDF funding allows this initiative to be developed until 2011.
About SHAPING 24
SHAPING 24 - Strategies for Heritage Access Pathways in Norwich and Ghent - is a new cultural tourism initiative that will link together the 12 heritage sites in Norwich that make up Norwich 12, with 12 heritage sites in Ghent. The project seeks to promote and support the 24 sites, raise the profile of Norwich and Ghent as significant cultural heritage cities and increase awareness of the longstanding historical links between this part of England and the Low Countries. By working together, the two cities will benefit from the experiences and professional expertise in both cities, and will be able to apply innovative approaches to the challenges facing historic cities.
SHAPING 24 is being led by HEART with Ghent City Council as the partner organisation. The project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund from the European Union's INTERREG IVA 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013. The total value of SHAPING 24 is €4.5m, of which Norwich's share is €2.3m, which includes match funding from a variety of organisations.
About Norwich HEART
Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) is a private, charitable trust set up to act as an umbrella organisation for all of the heritage on offer in Norwich. We strategically plan, regenerate, manage and promote Norwich's heritage and act as a best practice model internationally for developing heritage as a social and economic regeneration vehicle.
Norwich 12 and SHAPING 24 are initiatives by HEART.
This project arose out of a mutual desire to exploit the existing connections between the two cities - Norwich and Ghent have previously worked together on the Liveable City project which aimed to improve the public space in historic city centres.
Norwich also shares many important aspects of economic, social and cultural history with Ghent going back centuries - for example the lives of the burghers, merchants and guildsmen in the two regions in the middle ages; the development of the wool trade in the sixteenth century; the establishment of trade routes; religious connections; and the importance of migration for the two cities - especially the settlement of Flemish workers in Norwich in the 16th century.
Today these two cities share a sense of cultural development, developing and promoting the distinctiveness of their city's heritage in a range of innovative ways.
Just as Norwich was England's second city from the Middle Ages until the Industrial Revolution, Ghent was one of the most important cities in Europe from the year 1000 to around 1550, second only to Paris in size.
Today, it is the capital of the province of East Flanders with a population of 240,000.
As with Norwich, much of the city's medieval architecture remains intact. The city boasts three beguinages and a belfry which are recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, one medieval castle, a cathedral, several museums and two important abbeys.
For more information go to www.visitgent.be.
What is Interreg IVA 2 Seas Programme?
Interreg IVA 2 Seas Programme is an EU-funded programme which can part-finance joint co-operation projects between organisations in eligible areas in England and organisations in eligible areas in France, Belgium and/or the Netherlands under a variety of themes including Economic Development, Environment and Quality of Life.
The programme covers an area of cross-border cooperation located at the crossroads of the Channel and the North Sea and involves the coastal regions of four member states: France (Nord-Pas de Calais), England, Flanders and the Netherlands.
The overall aim of the INTERREG IVA Programme is to: 'Support strategic cross-border co-operation for a more prosperous and sustainable region.'
For more information on the 2 Seas programme visit: http://www.interreg4a-2mers.eu/UK/pdf/InfosclesUK.pdf
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