PEOPLE passionate about Cheshire were urged to fly the flag for the region by joining the valued team of volunteers at Chester’s Visitor Information Centre.

Leading the rallying call ahead of impending Volunteers’ Week, which starts on June 3, was Irina Nikovska, who joined the centre as a volunteer but loved it so much she now works there as a full-time sales assistant.

Based at Chester Town Hall, Chester Visitor Information Centre (VIC) is part of Marketing Cheshire and forms part of its work to promote Cheshire as a place to visit, invest and live.

The VIC’s team welcomes and helps local residents and over 280,000 visitors to the city every year with its team currently including three volunteers as part of its commitment to having a diverse workplace and offering people the chance to develop their skills.

Its valued volunteers support the wider team via a range of front of house tasks ranging from providing visitors crucial information and administering the sale of publications, souvenirs and goods, tickets for events, attractions and travel.

Other roles include helping with the maintenance of displays, stock replenishment, dealing with deliveries, promoting accommodation, attractions, events and other services to visitors.

And as the VIC looked to expand its volunteering team, Chester-based Irina, 35, originally from Bulgaria, said joining the team was a great move and led to her talking a full-time job as a sales assistant.

“I came to the UK as volunteer for four months, five years ago. When I first started at the VIC, I was a bit worried because I didn’t know the language very well, and I didn’t have much work experience. But I soon realised that this was the best place to learn and develop my skills and gain new skills, particularly related with customer service, communication and problem-solving, time management and prioritization skills, empathy and active listening skills. I now work here full time.”

Isabel Robertson VIC Manager said: “The Visitor Centre is a great place to work as it can often be the start of someone's first experience of Chester.

“A smile and a welcome are very often what is needed to enhance that experience and that is something that most people give freely give. We want to make a visit to Chester magical for everyone and if you feel that you can help, please do apply to be a volunteer with us "”

Other volunteering opportunities Marketing Cheshire provide ranges from offering work placements to Chinese students taking business courses at the University of Chester to helping enlist Enterprise Advisors to work with the Careers Hub which builds connections between employers and their education institutions to improve young people’s career prospects in the area.   

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Volunteers' Week celebrates the amazing contributions volunteers make to communities across the UK.