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Plan for City Hosts to be introduced in Norwich is given Olympic seal of approval by Lord Coe

PUBLISHED: 11:45 24 June 2013 | UPDATED: 11:58 24 June 2013

Lord Sebastian Coe. photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire.

Lord Sebastian Coe. photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire.

Your city needs you!

That is the message being sent out today as volunteers are sought to help boost business and tourism in Norwich.

The launch of Norwich BID's City Hosts Scheme. From left, Mike King, City Hosts superviser; Paul Allen, City Hosts manager; and Rachael Fretter, marketing and communications manager. Picture: Denise Bradley The launch of Norwich BID's City Hosts Scheme. From left, Mike King, City Hosts superviser; Paul Allen, City Hosts manager; and Rachael Fretter, marketing and communications manager. Picture: Denise Bradley

The appeal has even been given the Olympic seal of approval by the chairman of the 2012 London Olympic Games, Lord Coe.

That is because the Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) is taking inspiration from one of the biggest success stories of London 2012, the Games Makers volunteers.

Norwich BID is looking to recruit a team of volunteer hosts to welcome, guide and assist visitors, shoppers and people living and working in the city.

As the search for volunteers begins, two-time 1,500m Olympic gold medallist Lord Coe (pictured) was pleased to hear of the plans and has sent the scheme his backing.

Nick Hurd, minister for society, during his visit to Norwich.  Photo: Bill Smith Nick Hurd, minister for society, during his visit to Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

“It’s great news that, Inspired by 2012 and the Games Makers, Norwich have launched the City Host scheme,” he said.

“I wish the team luck and look forward to hearing how the scheme develops.”

The aim is for the city hosts to be ambassadors and champions for the Norwich BID’s city-centre area, as well as to help people find interesting and different places to visit.

The long-term plan for the scheme is to have a bank of more than 50 city host volunteers who will be seen out and about in the city seven days a week, from 10am to 6pm.

Interested in becoming a City host?

Norwich BID are looking for people who have spare time on their hands who are interested in becoming a “face of Norwich”.

They are looking for people who enjoy walking, the outdoors and meeting new people, as well as have passion for Norwich’s rich history, culture, heritage and diversity.

Norwich BID want the City Host volunteers to “make a difference to the vitality and vibrancy of the city” by sharing knowledge and city centre insights with visitors to the city, leaving them with a positive impression so they want to return to the city.

For more information and an informal chat about becoming a City Host, contact Paul Allen at Norwich BID on 01603 727930 or hosts@norwichbid.co.uk

Paul Allen, Norwich BID city host manager, said: “This exciting new initiative is aimed at building on the strength of last years’ Olympics and is inspired by the 2012 Games Makers volunteer roles.

“Our goal is to make Norwich a stand out city for our welcome and friendliness to the wide number of visitors we see each and every year.”

Similar schemes are already run in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, which have their own BIDs, that have seen paid full-time town wardens become popular with businesses and the public.

However the Norwich BID is on a larger scale to the Yarmouth and Lowestoft BIDs, setting out to raise £3m over five years when it launched in November 2012, through an annual 1pc levy on the rateable value of businesses over £15,000 within the BID area.

Mr Allen continued: “Our aim is for the city hosts to be the faces of Norwich who have a sound knowledge of the range of businesses within the Norwich BID district.

“Anyone wanting information on a whole range of products and services will able to ask one of our City Hosts for help and we will offer assistance.

“The city hosts will be working closely with the business community, keeping an eye open for litter and graffiti as well as signposting visitors to the many attractions that the city has to offer.”

The scheme has also been backed by the minister for civil society, Nick Hurd, who has responsibilities for charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations.

He said: “Having just celebrated Volunteer Week and all the merits that volunteers bring to organisations it is great to hear of new initiatives and schemes that embrace volunteers.

“The City Host scheme by Norwich BID will mean that volunteers can make a real difference to the city centre, acting as a friendly face to meet and greet visitors whilst imparting their valuable knowledge of what the city has to offer.

“I wish Norwich BID luck and all the best with their new scheme.”

- Do you think the scheme is a good idea? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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