July 2011 is the 5th anniversary of the Falmouth Ambassadors. It is a hugely successful scheme run entirely by volunteers whose core role is to meet and greet people as they come off the cruise liners which dock in Falmouth. There are 60 Ambassadors in total with 40 actively involved. Interestingly, about half of the Ambassadors are also volunteers at the Museum.
With the support of A & P Falmouth, there is a quiet zone for the Ambassadors to welcome visitors, a changing/rest area and free shuttle buses into the town. All of this helps to provide visitors with a first class reception when they disembark. Feedback from visitors is that this is an excellent service. It has resulted in repeat booking from some of the tour operators which is great news for the local economy. Its reputation has spread and there are now other ports wishing to set up similar schemes and seek advice from the Falmouth team.
This year, 2 cruise ships have visited the port. From these 2 ships, there were 31 coaches on tour around the county, 1200 people using the shuttle buses into town and 600 pedestrian visits. If dredging occurs, these numbers will increase because the planned cruise terminal will be built. Continued support from the BID programme will ensure additional shuttle buses and it is hoped that at some point in the future, the rail link option will be explored.
This scheme is a perfect example of the Big Society at work - a group of volunteers working together for the good of their community without a formal structure or bank account and setting themselves up as a model of good practice.