Penarth Civic Society is discussing with the Vale of Glamorgan Council a scheme under which its members would be trained to carry out duties as voluntary “meeters-&-greeters” on Penarth Pier .
The ‘pier volunteer’ concept was explained to members by Civic Society treasurer Chris Wyatt after outline discussions about the idea with the Vale Council’s operational manager Colin Smith.
The Vale Council apparently feels it doesn’t actually receive much public kudos for all the work it does on the pier – and that many people are under the mistaken impression that Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (which runs the Penarth Pier Pavilion) also runs Penarth Pier itself.
Chris Wyatt told Civic Society members that Penarth Pier is “one of the best-managed piers in the UK” but the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s efforts and regular expenditure of “tens of thousands of pounds” had been “largely unreported in local media”. Many people he said had no idea about the extensive maintenance work undertaken on the pier
[PDN Note : All maintenance on the pier has been extensively reported by PDN – see http://tinyurl.com/z7ql6fx and http://tinyurl.com/jy4jygy ]
Mr Wyatt said that MV Balmoral would be carrying out quite a few cruises from the pier during the summer and there was a pressing need for volunteers – people to “meet and greet” passengers embarking and disembarking – and to act as liaison contacts with the ship. The “meeters-and-greeters” he said, would stand at the landing-stage and explain the situation to passengers in the event of the ship being delayed or sailings being cancelled.
Vale Operational Manager Colin Smith had pointed out that, even when the Balmoral or Waverley were not operating, there could still be lots of people on the pier – especially in holiday periods – who had questions about where they find somewhere to eat and drink, how they could get to Penarth Town Centre, what time the buses operated, or how they might get from the pier to the Barrage and the Marina .
Mr Smith had suggested extending the scope of the “volunteers for the Balmoral” to have “permanent volunteers at busy periods”, each working 3 or 4-hour-shifts answering questions and giving out maps or directing people to the Pavilion, where this information is already available.
The volunteers, Mr Wyatt said, would need to be “outgoing and friendly types with lots of common sense and enjoy working outdoors”. Full training would be given and the scheme would have to comply with all the regulations pertaining to the use of volunteers.
He said the idea was still in the early stages. Some of the work involved in setting-up the scheme would come from the officers of the council and some administration would be carried out by Civic Society members.
[ PDN Note: The Vale of Glamorgan Council closed the staffed Tourist Information Office which operated during the summer months at Penarth Pier – claiming that visitors could easily get information they needed on-line, at Penarth Library and at “Tourist Information Points” (noticeboards – which are now all out of date) . The Tourist Information Office at Penarth Pier was converted into a sweet shop.]
Other ideas to promote the Pier ( as opposed to the Pavilion) would use the broad area at the end of the pier – once the location of the old Bijou Pavilion – for free public performances ; not a “rock band” Mr Wyatt said – but possibly a “classical soloist”. Other possibilities were also poetry readings and even “drama performances” .
Another idea is to install information plaques at various locations around the pier giving details of various aspects of Penarth Pier history.