Your Executive Committee is working on an idea that will hopefully enhance the visibility and standing of the Society. It has been suggested that on busy (tourist) days we could have members (by rota) on the Cornhill offering advice and guidance to visitors, information about the Society to locals and directions to all who ask. The idea is not to compete with the Tourist Information Centre - rather to complement their excellent service. It is likely we would be directing perhaps half of the enquirers to St Stephen's Church. David Stainer and his team there can provide most of the answers to questions that may be beyond the knowledge of our members. Nor would our service be a history lesson. Again we would direct visitors to the TIC from where Blue Badge Guides start their excellent and informative guided walks.
Perhaps by way of experiment we might limit our presence to one day per week during the summer of 2004 (July and August), we would listen to the questions (and typical answers) and establish what device we need to mark our presence. In the first instance this could be limited to a sash which could be easily passed from person to person. Eventually we might need something more substantial - a sandwich board, banner or stand. Your suggestions would be useful.
Where a similar service operates elsewhere (for example in Cambridge) the volunteer distributes maps of the town centre from a pad. Ours could be sponsored by the businesses that might benefit from the trade which a mention on the map could bring. At the end of the day both visitors and locals should know that Ipswich has a Civic Society, that we care about the town and that we are willing to share our knowledge of it with others (and maybe we would recruit a few new members).
JOHN NORMAN, Vice-Chairman