First 90 days in post
“If I see that someone is lost, I’ll take them to where they are trying to go, not just give them directions. That way I can make sure they have everything they need and recommend other places on the way there”
After six weeks on the job as a Cardiff BID Street Ambassador, Mat is finding that he is getting to know Cardiff better every day businesses are starting to recognise that he is there to help them.
“I’ve helped people from all over the world in the last month and they’ve been so grateful, especially when I take them exactly where they need to go. Last week a couple from Norway were looking for a record shop so I took them to Spillers but on the way told them about some other places they could visit if they didn’t find what they were looking for.
“I also helped an elderly gentleman a couple of weeks ago when the weather was a lot warmer. He looked like he was struggling to walk to I took him to sit outside a business then made sure they were happy with him having a rest and a drink of water on their outside furniture.
“A really positive thing that’s happened in our first month is the new hanging baskets. They really brighten up Queen Street especially and I’ve heard loads of comments from businesses, shoppers and tourists.
“I’ve really enjoyed exploring new places in Cardiff and meeting all the businesses. I definitely notice more that is going on in the city than I would as a visitor or customer so we really are the BIDs eyes and ears.
“It’s been good to go back and visit businesses once we’ve seen them as well. We give them all our email addresses but it’s much better to go in and see them face to face, maintain a relationship and make them feel like we really are there to help them!”
“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 recognize 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 went to briefings on the Champions League Final with all of their volunteers, we did 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 wanted 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.”
“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!
“People are definitely starting to notice us, I hear them commenting on our uniforms as we walk through the city and ask who we are”
After walking the streets of Cardiff for 6 weeks, Jordan is enjoying his new role as a Street Ambassador and likes having the chance to meet new people and find out what they love about Cardiff.
“In the last month, we’ve really made some headway with visiting the businesses in the BID area and have got stuck in to everything that’s happening around Cardiff.”
“One of the main causes of concern that have been raised by businesses for me is taxis refusing fares. This is an ongoing issue for bars and clubs that are worried about people not being able to get home safely. This is definitely something we want to help work on in the coming months.”
“One of the main things in the last few weeks was preparing for the Champions League Final. We went to briefings with all of the UEFA volunteers and tried to make sure as many businesses know how they would be affected as possible. We’ve learnt all about the road closures, travel options, fan zones and general arrangements for the weekend so we could be on hand to help the volunteers out as much as possible.”
“I like the fact that we are forging good relationships with everyone that works across the city. We wear radios that are linked to the police and council so we always have an idea of what’s going on and how situations could affect Cardiff that day.”
“The busiest shift I’ve done has been a Saturday afternoon, I had to point a lot of people to shops and pubs. I’m looking forward to starting the later evening shifts, I know they’ll be busier but it’s something different and I like a challenge!”
“It’s nice to be out and about meeting different people, the city workers, the statutory bodies and volunteers, all the people who make the city work really.”
Almost 6 weeks in to his position as Cardiff BID Street Ambassador, ex-police officer Andy has been relishing his new role, building relationships with business owners and employees as well as helping out shoppers and tourists.
“As a team, I’d say we visited around 500 businesses over the last month. I know some of the guys are also making contact via email so in total I’d say we’ve at least introduced ourselves in some way to around 550.
“Businesses ask a lot about road closures and travel updates as this often affects their business. Tourists on the other hand are always interested in the red uniforms and what we’re all about. I explain to them what we’re doing and that we’re here to help.
“This month, we recovered an Australian tourist’s lost mobile phone which was a nice feeling. She had travelled to France to work and then to Cardiff to study but had left her phone, with all her train and plane tickets on, on a coach. We managed to put her in touch with the bus company and get it back to her which was brilliant because she’d been so upset!
“We’ve also helped an old lady who had broken her shoulder falling over on Mill Lane. We stayed with her until the cycle paramedics arrived and made sure she was going to be okay.
“Now that we’ve completed a month of working in the city, people are starting to recognize us and a lot of business owners know me on a first name basis. A few have asked me in for a coffee and a chat.”
“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.”
“People are starting to realize who we are and what we’re doing now. It’s been a bit like a test this month and I think we’ve seen really positive results so far.”
Louise has thoroughly enjoyed her six weeks as a Street Ambassador as she loves being outdoors and meeting new people. She thinks that visiting ten businesses a day has given the ambassadors a chance to start building relationships with those in the BID area.
“People in the streets have started reading the backs of our jackets then coming up to ask us what we are doing, which is great. Not only does it let us meet more people but also gives us a chance to explain exactly what Cardiff BID is about.
“There have been a couple of occasions where I’ve helped tourists in particular over the last month. Mostly people just ask for directions but when one couple asked me to point out a camera shop I walked them to it myself, then gave them a list of similar shops in case they didn’t find what they were looking for. I think it’s important that we give as many businesses a chance at custom as possible.
“The most frequent questions I’ve been asked are definitely about travel. Now the bus station is closed, even local people are confused about where to go, so we’ve been able to help make sure they get on the right buses. I’ve also called taxis for people and waited with them until it arrived.
“We’ve spent the last month establishing really good contacts around the city. We’re often the first ones to see things, as we’re out on the streets every day, now we know exactly who to notify if something does happen.
“For example, I spotted some fresh graffiti in a quieter part of town the other day and was able to call the council and arrange for someone to come and clean it really quickly. We want people to keep seeing us as a source of help as our role carries on.”