A VOLUNTEER scheme to provide tourist information in Durham City is off to a busy start.
About 100 people a day have been approaching the Durham Pointers at their pitch in the Market Place.
“The most common question is where is the cathedral,” said pointer Brian Bradley. “The second most common is why hasn’t Durham got a tourist information centre, followed by the location of the nearest public toilet.
“We are only into our second week, but the response has shown there is a need for the service.”
The pointers wear bright pink jackets and carry street maps to give away to visitors.
“They give their time for nothing,” said Colin Wilkes of the scheme’s steering group. “I’ve spoken to several who have done a shift, they all seem to have enjoyed it and found it a worthwhile thing to do.
“We have about 50 volunteers of all ages from students up to pensioners.
“There are two pointers on duty from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, which means each person will be doing one shift every two weeks.
“The response to our initial appeal was good, but we are still keen to recruit more volunteers.”
The scheme will run until September, and Colin is already thinking about next year.
“Hopefully it will continue,” he said. “It’s a good example of the private sector helping to run services which, for whatever reason, the local authority feels it can no longer provide.
“We have had some funding from the Durham Area Action Partnership, which paid for the jackets, insurance and one or two other things.
“It doesn’t cost a great deal to run the scheme, so we are hopeful of picking up funding for future years.”
Anyone wanting to become a pointer can find details on the scheme’s website: www.durhampointers.co.uk