This article has been submitted by Cardiff BID
Last month Cardiff BID introduced Louise and Andy, two members of Cardiff BID’s team of Street Ambassadors. Now the BID wants you to get acquainted with some more of them. Meet Tom, Sebastian and Alex.
Tom Smith, age 30 from Cardiff:
“I always listen out for different languages when I spot a group of tourists and try my best to respond in the same language. I’m always happy to approach them if I can see they are stuck for directions.”
After almost 60 days as a Cardiff BID Street Ambassador, Tom says their work has been instrumental in gathering important data on how best to improve the city for businesses and workers alike.
“Through meeting local businesses we’ve gathered a lot of information about the issues that matter to the business owners and employees in Cardiff, with a view to building on this and helping them in the future.
“My favourite place to visit businesses is definitely the arcades, the more I go down them, the more I’m discovering. There are always new business owners to meet, introduce ourselves to and start building relationships. It’s also nice to spend some time in the older parts of Cardiff city centre as a contrast to some of the newer, more congested parts of the city.
“In my first month as a Street Ambassador I have to say that helping tourists around Cardiff has been what I’ve enjoyed the most. Meeting school trips coming over from France and Poland and helping the schoolchildren with directions and translations for some of the Welsh signposting has been really rewarding.
“With so many different nationalities travelling through the city, the most common thing I get asked by tourists is where they can get a certain type of cuisine. I get asked for French or Spanish food for example, but in general I’ve been struck by the variety of questions I’ve been asked.”
Sebastian Wright, age 32 from Cardiff:
“People keep coming up to me saying they saw me on TV or in the paper, I even had one person shout my name in the street. It’s nice that people are starting to recognise us”
After six weeks as a Street Ambassador for Cardiff BID, Seb is finding that more and more people are starting to approach him for help and he is forging valuable relationships with local businesses and services across the city.
“In my first couple of weeks as a Street Ambassador, I’ve had the chance to meet so many people and it’s really starting to sink in what we’re trying to accomplish; for us and for locals in the BID area.
“We must have been to visit around 500 by now but we’ve been helping out loads of tourists too. Last week I helped reunite a young boy with his dad after they got separated in town. I worked with the police and local businesses on Queen Street to help the young boy and left my number in shops so they could get in touch if his father came back to look for him. We found him eventually and they were so grateful, he even sent me a text later to say thank you.
“I already feel like I’m making a difference with businesses, in the last couple of weeks I had a couple of complaints from shops and restaurants on St Mary’s Street because their outside street lighting wasn’t working. I reported the issue and we’ve since managed to get it fixed for them.
“The question I’ve been asked the most is definitely about buses and transport. I’ve been showing people how to use travel apps and giving out bus maps so people can find where they are going easily. I think I know pretty much all of the bus routes around Cardiff now.
“We’ve made really good relationships with other people that work around the city like cleaners and traffic wardens. We’ve even been to briefings on the Champions League Final with all of their volunteers, we’re going to be doing our best to help them over the weekend so it was nice to be involved in their preparations – there’s loads of them but we want to help as much as possible.
“At the moment, we’re visiting ten businesses a day. Even though we’ve managed to see so many already, there’s over 900 in the BID area so we’re going to keep working hard to make sure they’re all heard in the next few months.”
Alex Grove, age 26 from Cyncoed
“I’ve really enjoyed meeting businesses in Cardiff, finding out what matters most to them and how we can help them raise their profile in the city”.
Since April, Alex has been walking around Cardiff helping businesses and tourists alike. He has enjoyed getting to know local business owners and has found that people are feeling a lot more comfortable when asking him questions.
“I’ve found visiting the smaller businesses in the arcades really interesting. It’s been good to hear their plans for getting involved in bigger events across the city and offer our help when they are doing so.
“I’ve got this really good map called Get Lost in Cardiff, it shows all the smaller, more niche businesses and where they are based in the city. I’ve been showing it to tourists when they are asking for shopping recommendations because it steers them to places with lower footfall and gives them a more unique experience while they are here.
“The best thing I’ve done in the last month is help a man from Egypt find his long-lost daughter. I saw him in the city centre looking at a map, so I approached him to offer help. He was looking for one of the colleges as he had heard that his daughter worked there. I took him to the college and although his daughter wasn’t there that day, he found where she worked and planned to go back the next day to meet her.
“I’ve also worked with Cardiff Council to clean up litter on a number of occasions. Some of the bins were overflowing in Bute Park and outside a business on Westgate Street so I called the council to come and help clean it up. They arrived really quickly and I helped them make sure all the litter and cardboard boxes were cleared from the pavements.
“Now I want to focus on Welsh heritage and directing tourists to the historical sites and attractions around the city. I’m also going to go to Welsh lessons so I can start learning the language.”
To find out more about Cardiff BID and their team of Street Ambassadors, visit: http://cardiffbid.com/