The BID employs three full time City Ambassadors to help in all aspects of the BIDs work. Employed through The Welcome People who operate in BIDs across the country, the team is deployed on a 21 day shift pattern so we always have two Ambassadors on duty, including weekends and Bank Holidays. They are instantly recognizable by their bowler hats and huge smiles, and will be happy to help wherever they can. Their duties are:
- Account management; The Ambassadors visit all businesses within the BID Area, both on a scheduled basis and an adhoc basis to introduce themselves, provide information about their role and how the service will develop. The team are a vital link between businesses and organisations within the BID Area and Canterbury Connected BID, to ensure that businesses are getting the best out of the BID services and projects.
- Reporting; They are the eyes and ears of the BID and report various environmental and other issues in the City Centre, so that collectively we can ensure that Canterbury is the best it can be for businesses, staff and all users of the City Centre. They record what they see in the city on their handheld devices so that we can produce data about what is happening and work to resolve issues.
- Connecting; The Ambassadors work with the statutory services (Canterbury City Council, KCC, Kent Police) to highlight any issues that may cause concern for businesses to try to resolve the issues you report to them such as graffiti, litter, illegal street trading, faulty street lights, broken pavements and anti-social behaviour.
- Welcoming visitors; Our BID Ambassadors provide an information and a welcoming service for visitors, workers and residents. They help to promote the city centre to visitors, signpost them to cultural activities and locations, tourist attractions, shopping areas, places of interest and events, in order to make every visit to Canterbury a pleasant, enjoyable and memorable experience.
Meet the Team
Catherine Penny – Team Leader
|07815 702402||07812 238642||07815 702406|
|Cath is our site manager and longest-serving BID Ambassador, having worked here since December 2015.||Simon started working as a BID Ambassador in May 2017, having previously worked as an ambassador in Vancouver, Canada.||Kayleigh is our most recent recruit, having started in July 2018. Originally from County Kerry, Kayleigh completed a degree at the University of Kent and has never left.|
|Area: Whitefriars, St. George’s St., Rose Lane, St. Margaret’s St., Castle St., Dane John Gardens/City Wall||Area: High St., St. Peter’s St. and adjoining streets, Stour St., St. Dunstans, The Friars, Marlowe, Westgate Gardens, Greyfriars, Solly’s Orchard||Area: Cathedral Quarter (Burgate and adjoining streets), Sun St., Orange St., Best Lane, King St., King’s Mile (Guildhall St., Palace St., The Borough, Northgate), St. Radigunds St.|
|Interests/hobbies: Travel, photography, walking||Interests/hobbies: Football, pub lunches, current affairs, travel||Interests/hobbies: I love Japanese culture. I’m currently reading the history of the Samurai and enjoy playing Japanese computer games.|
|Funniest question asked: A gentleman likes to come up to me on a regular basis and check that I know my times tables! However, I once approached a gentleman of a very similar description and asked him what 5 x 7 was – but he turned out to be a different person!||Funniest question asked: I once was asked where The Shambles is, which is one of the famous streets in York! Someone mixed up their cathedral cities.||Funniest question asked: One visitor asked if Gareth Southgate got the idea to wear a waistcoat from us, or if we were copying him (he copied us, obviously!).|
|Best thing about being an ambassador: Helping solve people’s issues and problems, and making their lives a little bit easier on a day-to-day basis.||Best thing about being an ambassador: Seeing all the festivals in summer, and how the city comes to life.||Best thing about being an ambassador: I’ve really enjoyed finding out more about the area. Even though I’ve lived here for years, I’m discovering new places each day.|
BID Ambassadors are responsible for communicating and supporting over 650 businesses and take part in around 3000 interactions with visitors each month. They are the eyes and ears of the city streets, but how do they do it?
A day in the life of an Ambassador
Before we go outside, there are always a few important tasks to do. First, I’ll change into my uniform (no, we don’t wear bowler hats in our spare time!). Second, we have a morning briefing, in which we discuss our duties for the day, any events that are happening, and other information to be aware of. Lastly, I’ll do a quick check on social media to see if there’s any material for us to promote or post ourselves.
Our first task of the day is always environmental reporting. There are fewer people in town that need our help, and it means that we can do our checks largely uninterrupted. It also gives us the opportunity to report any problems that have arisen from the night before including broken glass, on-street waste, graffiti, vomit, and other pleasant things! By reporting these problems as early as possible, it means that there’s a better chance they’ll be addressed by the time most people have arrived in city centre.
We report everything on our work phones using an app, which sends the information we collect directly to the relevant organisation that deals with that issue. Our reports include a description of the problem, the exact location, a photograph, and the level of severity (high, medium, low). We have to report these incidents individually in the locations we find them, so it’s easy to see how the issues can stack up, particularly if they are repeated in multiple locations across the city centre.
So if you ever see us standing still and tapping away on our mobile phones, this is what we’re doing!
We aim to visit all of the businesses in our respective areas at least once every two months, but in practice it tends to be more frequent – particularly for those involved in upcoming events, newly-opened businesses, and smaller independent businesses that rely more on our support.
We’ll be on the streets ready to welcome visitors. Our aim is always to be where our help is needed, and over time we’ve come to know the locations that get busy at different times of the day/week/year, so we’ll position ourselves accordingly.
After lunch on an average day, we’ll continue welcoming and helping visitors. Some days we’ll have meetings to attend in the early afternoon, usually at the council offices, for the many panels and action groups that the BID sits on. These include the Rough Sleepers’ Forum, Graffiti Tasking Group, and City Centre Action Group. Spending most of our working hours in the street and seeing what goes on, we’ve learnt that our knowledge can be enormously valuable in tackling some of the most important issues that affect the city centre.
Once a week we have our formal meeting with everyone in the BID office. These meetings enable us to raise any concerns from businesses to the relevant BID staff who can help deal with them, share information about upcoming events (e.g. shop openings, promotional events), and discuss any issues we’ve seen on the streets that may affect our levy-paying businesses. In turn, the BID staff will pass on any relevant information to us.
Before we leave, we always have a short end-of-day briefing to discuss anything notable that occurred, and talk about our tasks for the following day. I’ll check our social media accounts once more to promote relevant material.