Belfast Charitable Society is set to give Belfast’s tourism industry a boost as they launch Northern Ireland’s first White Badge accredited tour guide training, which has been made possible through the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Raising the professional standards of tour guides in Belfast and beyond, Belfast Charitable Society has been named as the first heritage site in Northern Ireland to receive this prestigious qualification, enabling them to train others and offer a culturally rich and informative experience for those visiting Belfast’s oldest public building, Clifton House.
Accredited by the Institute of Tourist Guiding, this qualification is required by other guides in renowned heritage sites, like the Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Hampton Court.
Paula Reynolds, CEO at Belfast Charitable Society, comments; “Tourism has now become an important part of our economy and with visitor expectations high, we want to exceed tourist’s expectations of what they will learn about Northern Ireland, Belfast and our history.
“The accredited tourist guide training programmes will take place in early 2019, where a number of volunteers will have the opportunity to achieve the highly respected White Badge accreditation. This is an exciting opportunity for people to get a professional guiding qualification; the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. “
Clifton House is an impressive Georgian building, set in tranquil landscaped gardens in the heart of Belfast. Opened in 1774 by Belfast Charitable Society, the building was used until the late 1880s as Belfast’s Poor House. The Heritage Lottery Funding awarded Belfast Charitable Society/Clifton House with almost £15,000, which has allowed for the Society to take part the training.
Anna Carragher, Chair of Heritage Lottery Fund’s NI Committee comments; “We were delighted to award funding to Belfast Charitable Society for their new project. Clifton House and the Society are integral to the heritage of Belfast and they are working hard to engage people with that rich heritage.
“Providing high quality training to local people to enable them to share the heritage with Belfast’s growing tourist visitors is an important step. It is thanks to players of the National Lottery that we can invest in these exciting local projects.”
Clifton House is currently recruiting volunteers to become a white badge tourist guide.
Paula added; “We are looking for outgoing, articulate people who are passionate about the city’s history and that of Clifton House who can volunteer eight hours per month.
“If successful volunteers will be based at one of Belfast’s most respected and historical site, Clifton House – one with a long association with the city of Belfast. We are particularly keen to hear from people in the North Belfast area, where we are developing a Heritage Cluster which showcases the treasures of this historic part of the city”.
Closing date is noon on Monday 22nd October or you can call 028 90 997 022.