A wonderful blog, written by one of our loyal band of volunteers:
“Suggestion…” ‘Write a blog about a A Day in the Life of a TIC Volunteer.’
A blog? (Note to self, check definition of blog).
Any clues. “Make it light hearted.”
Anything else? “Not too long.”
Hmm, so implication being I waffle on?
Maybe I just best have a go! So here goes…although I’m sure there was one other piece of suggestion but I can’t remember what it was…oh well I really ought to get on with it.
On arrival check kettle is primed, if not already done. Check designated computer is playing nicely, ie up and running, talking to WiFi and server, points of sale for Saffron Screen and Saffron Hall are loaded and ready for action. Then and only then do I investigate what should be done first thing and that is go through the all important Volunteers’ Notebook. This is our ‘latest news manual.’
I’m waffling again…
The Volunteers’ Notebook logs dated changes to forthcoming events, road closures, bus diversions, new shops opening, change of stock alerts and where their point of sale is, change of payment procedure, where certain tickets may be found etc, etc, etc. Then there is the till. Sometimes complex but all important other point of sale. Before any of these are fully digested the first customer will walk through the door.
One thing I have learnt, which is in sharp contrast to my natural instinct, an effective volunteer must be inquisitive!
On a bleak, wet winters day a customer phoned from Suffolk enquiring whether the coffee man was on the Market that day. ‘Yes’ I confidentially replied. Two hours later two very unimpressed people burst into the office demanding an explanation. The particular coffee man they were looking for sells bespoke beans not just hot drinks. I definitely hadn’t been inquisitive enough!
But the TIC is more than a destination, it’s also a crossroads. Journeys to given settings can be mapped with the customer. One of our favourite regulars will also ask for reviews of certain hotels/ events etc. (Hang on ‘favourite’ does that rings a bell?) People are beginning to realise we are the place to visit to report or enquire about lost property. But who knew we also managed to track down the connection for a past student of the once Bell College with their landlady successfully?
The queries come thick and fast. From Christmas cards, honey, original paintings of the town, books, T towels, calendars etc and even duck food! The tiny customers with their excited little faces for this last item are also some of our favourites! (That word again..) That’s it, I remember now.
Final suggestion was to include who is my favourite to work with?
Oh no, I have waffled too much and have run out of room…
Maybe next time?!
Although the TIC doesn’t have any current vacancies for any further volunteers, there are plenty of other opportunities to give of your time and expertise via Volunteer Uttlesford: https://volunteeruttlesford.org.uk/