Ambassadors in Nottingham

To the Silkwood Tree cast. Photo: Alexandra Johnson

By Cath Cook, Nottingham Regional Co-ordinator

Our Ambassador Programme started in Nottingham on 19 April and we have two ambassadors in place – Lisa and Jim (pictured above with cast and creatives from To the Silkwood Tree).

Appointing ambassadors from our existing performers enables Streetwise to take a more grassroots approach to attracting new people to workshops. It also gives the ambassadors the opportunity to have an active role in developing the local Streetwise programme and the power to make judgement calls about how they go about promoting our sessions.

The role is an incredibly important and varied one, with huge benefits to everyone involved.  By offering this role as a three month placement within Streetwise Opera, our ambassadors gain some practical work experience and can develop their confidence and transferrable skills (such as interpersonal skills and decision making). Our workshops leaders benefit from the additional support the ambassadors offer with administrative tasks, which frees them up to focus on creative content. Ambassadors also give valuable assistance in recruiting and retaining workshop participants. Above all, Streetwise can learn a great deal from our ambassadors about what works and what doesn’t, as well as getting a fresh perspective on how we move forward with our work at a local and national level.

How we did set up the programme in Nottingham

Part of my role as Regional Co-ordinator is to get to know our performers individually over time and look at how they might want to progress and move forward. Through these conversations and workshop interactions I have been able to get a good idea of who would be interested in being an ambassador and also who might be ready to take on this role. I identified a few people I thought might be suitable and discussed this with our workshop support worker and workshop leaders. I then approached each person individually to ask them if they were interested. Once they had agreed, I set up an individual meeting with each person to give them a copy of the role description and make sure they understood what they were taking on. We then asked them to sign an agreement to confirm their appointment.

The ambassadors will be in post for at least one term, after which it will be reviewed and there will be the possibility of other group members putting themselves forward.

Our Nottingham ambassadors, Lisa and Jim, are both doing an amazing job and are extremely committed. Their roles complement the other training and development opportunities they’re undertaking and we hope the ambassador programme will assist them in meeting their personal development goals.

What our ambassadors say

'It’s fun and it’s got me more involved. It’s made me more organised because I have to organise myself to get here on time' – Jim

'I find it quite rewarding as you get to speak to people you wouldn‘t normally speak to – it’s very humbling. I found it quite challenging at first because I felt unconfident and a bit institutionalised having recently come out of a support programme myself. As the weeks have progressed, I’ve gained more confidence each time' – Lisa