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Do you want to be a Grand Central station ambassador?
This Volunteers Week (1-7 June), Grand Central is calling on more volunteers to help it expand its ambassadors network.
The Grand Central Station Ambassador Programme was piloted in the North East at Hartlepool and Eaglescliffe stations before being launched in Brighouse in 2014. Now more than 60 volunteer station ambassadors work with Grand Central to respond to passenger queries and provide them with a friendly welcome to the towns along the company’s North East and West Riding routes.
The ambassadors man stations on a Sunday, talking to passengers, answering any questions and assisting with problems. The ambassadors also work on ensuring people coming into the stations get the best from the destinations. The company is particularly keen on engaging ambassadors at Mirfield station, which runs four trains a day to London on a Sunday.
Paul Stevenson, Grand Central’s ambassador coordinator, says, “Volunteering on the railway gives our ambassadors a sense of belonging both to the company and the locality. They are doing something towards a green agenda, encouraging rail travel and because GC's reputation is good they can take pride in being part of an industry leader.”
Though Grand Central’s original purpose was originally to engage with local communities through a scheme that filled the gap in staff presence at stations on Sundays, says Sean English, Grand Central’s chief operating officer, “When the volunteer network grew, we realised the ambassadors serve as our eyes and ears to all things local.” The other benefits can be easily measured, says English, “it provides enhancement to the customer experience through highly committed, passionate and knowledgeable community-based champions who go that extra mile.” The ambassadors fly the flag for their communities ensuring visitors return, and, says English, “they act as the voice of the customer so we can continually improve,” not to mention proving invaluable in times of disruption.
Up at Sunderland Station, Grand Central is also aiming to introduce a youth volunteer scheme with its partner homeless charity Centrepoint. Says English, “The scheme will essentially offer the same level of service as other stations but the target volunteers will be youth who have perhaps been supported by Centrepoint now or in the past. We really want to provide an opportunity for young people to undertake some meaningful training and development that ideally will support them getting into employment and, of course, station users at Sunderland will see and enhancement to the service GC can provide.”
To sign up please contact [email protected]
Notes for editors:
About Grand Central
Grand Central Railway Company Limited is an established train operator that provides direct rail connections from towns and cities in Yorkshire and the North East England with London.
Established in 2007, Grand Central celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017. Customer satisfaction levels are consistently high and the rail company has just been named Britain’s best value rail operator for the fifth year in a row.
Grand Central operates West Riding Services between Bradford Interchange, Low Moor, Halifax, Brighouse, Mirfield, Wakefield Kirkgate, Pontefract Monkhill, Doncaster and London Kings Cross. The rail operator also operates North East services between Sunderland, Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe, Northallerton, Thirsk, York and London Kings Cross.
Grand Central is part of the Arriva group, one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe. Arriva employs more than 60,000 people and delivers more than 2 billion passenger journeys across 14 European countries each year.
For further information on this or Grand Central’s community and stakeholder activity, please contact Hazel Davis – [email protected]