By Ruth Rees – Martin Rees Jewellers
Do you have a passion for Wrexham Town Centre, some knowledge you would like to share ?
Well this could be an ideal opportunity !
These are extremely challenging times for many independent retailers, in Wrexham and elsewhere. One useful thing we can do is to raise awareness of just how much our town has to offer – both on event days and others. Even after thirty plus years trading in the town centre we still sometimes get someone turn up in our shop who says “Gosh, I’ve lived in this area for ten years and I never knew this lovely shop was here!”
Another frustration is that when we do have an event in the town, its often hard for people in (say) Eagles Meadow or Island Green shopping centres, to realise that there is anything extra going on that might tempt them to explore a little further. And sometimes even people who have come into town for that event, go away disappointed because they have not realised just where various things are happening! We know this is true because of the comments we receive on social media.
Social media can only do so much; what we need are friendly people on the spot, roving through the different areas welcoming people with a big smile, helping them to find what they need (library, toilets, a particular shop, or whatever.) And armed with maps, flyers, heritage trail leaflets, and so on – to make sure people remember their visit to Wrexham town centre with pleasure and want to repeat it soon.
Martin and I decided to kick start the project in November from our own business funds, with a two pronged effort – a flyer on Independent Wrexham, and a first batch of tabards to be worn by our volunteers. An appeal on the Wrexham Town Matters Facebook group quickly produced our first volunteer Ambassadors, and six people so far have ventured out in the tabards on some of the Saturdays before Christmas. We all received a largely positive reception as we distributed copies of the flyer, the Snowflake Trail entry form and the WCBC Christmas booklets.
AVOW will shortly post this volunteer opportunity on the “Volunteer Wales” database which should help us gain extra support. Joe Bickerton of the WCBC Tourism team is designing some training for us, and arranging a launch event (for which he has funding available) in March. And I have secured permission for the Ambassadors to operate within Eagles Meadow, hopefully I will do so for Island Green as well shortly. Phil and Andy Gallanders of Bank Street Coffee have kindly offered to let Bank Street Coffee Shop be used as a headquarters where tabards, flyers and leaflets, can be kept for easy access.
We need to get another batch of printed tabards, some shoulder bags for the volunteers to carry their supplies, and some acrylic leaflet holders for use in Bank Street Coffee and other locations in town. Also in due course I would like to produce a larger more detailed handout – perhaps an 8-page A5 booklet, with a map in the centre. As a director of the Wrexham Business Group CIC I see this as a very appropriate project for the CIC to promote.
Another role I would love to see our Ambassadors fill is to get promotional material about the town centre into many more places around the county and beyond. Every hotel, guest house and B&B should have them in its welcome package – TICs throughout the region – and also places like the visitor centre at the Aqueduct. This would need to be done by people with their own transport, ideally several different people would each take an area – perhaps the one near where they live – and revisit about once a month to restock… I already try to do this in a small way, but a more organized and large scale effort would be very helpful I believe.
To express your interest in taking part in this project, please complete your details here.