Saturday, 8 June 2013

Chesterfield - A Welcoming Town

Thanks to Barratt Homes and the European Regional Development Fund £500,000 will shortly be invested into developing  Chesterfield town centre’s key gateway locations – Hornsbridge Roundabout and the Railway Station Link. The enhancements will all come together to create a ‘warm welcome to visitors’ to our town.

However, the Town’s  ‘warm welcome’ goes well beyond the visual enhancement of sculpture, art installation, signage, planting and way marking. It’s about the people – businesses and residents – and how we project ourselves in person and online to promote our pride and affection for the area and to create the ultimate warm welcome and reason to visit Chesterfield.

Recently, 15 people underwent training to become ambassadors for Chesterfield.  The scheme is for front line staff and residents in the town and recognises the important role they play in shaping the impressions of the Town to visitors, whether they are here on business or pleasure. Speak to a Chesterfield Ambassador and not only will they be able to give you the low down on the town’s regeneration plans, but also where to eat, what’s on and how many tonnes of lead were used to make the Crooked Spire -  approximately 33 tonnes in case you’re interested.

The Internet is also extending the message about our Town’s ‘warm  welcome’ nationally as well as abroad. Social media has become a powerful marketing tool for both DestinationChesterfield and the many independent retailers here. They are using Facebook and Twitter to reach out to people and make them aware of everything that the town has to offer, resulting in them being sought out by the many tourists who visit Chesterfield each year. One town centre independent trader now has customers from as far afield as Scotland, Canada, Australia and America.

Latest tourism figures for Chesterfield show the town is growing in popularity as a place to visit. The boost in the number of tourists has also increased the amount of money being spent in the town by 11% since 2010; that’s way above the 2% increase for the East Midlands region and also tops the 7% increase for the Peak District and Derbyshire.

Recently Destination Chesterfield has been encouraging people to add the #LoveChesterfield Twibbon to their Twitter accounts in order to shout about how great the town is and what we love about it. This was done in response to a cruel jibe a national newspaper (Metro) had at Chesterfield after Sheffield was declared as the happiest city in the UK. Residents and businesses have come out in force in support of the town.

While we are investing physically in developing Chesterfield by creating a visually pleasing reception for visitors, equally important are the people who they come into contact with – you! Luckily, our town has welcoming and friendly people in abundance. I feel  sure l that some of the good humour of Cestrefeldians influenced our neighbour’s happiest city award!!

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