Tourism looks set to receive a boost in Stamford thanks to the initiative of a town guide.
Jill Collinge, a Blue Badge tour guide for more than 25 years, sprang into action following the “worrying closure” of the town’s tourist information centre, based at Stamford Arts Centre in St Mary’s Street.
Under plans to streamline services and renovate the arts centre, tourist information services are being merged into the role of box office staff, who will also pick up some of the work of the South Kesteven District Council advisors who worked in the now-closed office in Maiden Lane.
Jill, who believes they will be busy before enquiries from tourists come in, has hatched a plan to help keep visitors happy.
“I’m a member of the Churches Conservation Trust,” she told a meeting of Stamford Town Council on Tuesday. “St John’s Church is a conservation trust church and I wondered if they would be happy to set up a pop-up tourist information centre. We had a meeting and they thought it was a wonderful idea.”
Jill hopes to launch the initiative just before Easter next year.
“It’s volunteer led and we would need two at any one time covering stints of at least two hours at a time between 10am and 4pm.”
The possibility was raised that pupils working towards a Duke of Edinburgh Award could help to volunteer at weekends and during school holidays.
Jill told the council the only ongoing cost to the town would be to pay for heating, although she envisaged the centre would be open from April until September, when warmer weather brings visitors to Stamford.
There were also potential start-up costs for display boards and brochure stands.
Coun Andy Croft, the town council’s events committee chairman, said while no-one wanted to see Stamford Arts Centre go down in value, he thought it was “a brilliant idea”.
“I think we should contact everyone who puts brochures in the arts centre and say from April they shall be in the church.”
Coun Sue Sandall, chairman of the finance committee, also praised the idea and invited Jill to put forward her requests for funding.
St John’s Church, at the bottom of Red Lion Square, already hosts Cards for Good Causes from November.
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