Island ambassadors helping beachgoers stay Covid-safe

If you visit a beach or park this summer it will be hard to miss these Isle of Wight Council employees.

Wearing bright orange T-shirts, these workers are the Isle of Wight’s new Island Ambassadors.

Patrolling the main tourist resorts at the height of the summer holidays, the ambassadors are on hand to offer people advice and guidance on how to stay Covid-safe while still enjoying the sun, sea and sand.

Annabel Fletcher is one of 22 leisure service staff to be redeployed into the new role. She said: “My role entails patrolling Sandown Esplanade, checking for any problems, making sure people are happy on the beach and adhering to social distance guidelines.The reaction from holidaymakers and residents has been positive and everyone is happy to speak to us.”

As they stroll the sand and seafronts in Sandown, Shanklin, Ryde and Ventnor, the ambassadors are a visible reminder to people to socially distance and maintain good hygiene at all times.

It is hoped the programme will help avoid overcrowded beaches as seen in other south coast resorts including Bournemouth and Brighton.

Ambassadors are also signposting people to key services as well as monitoring and reporting incidents of littering, graffiti, dog fouling and anti-social behaviour.

Council leader, Dave Stewart, said: “Reminding people to be vigilant and adopt all of the right behaviours to prevent the spread of coronavirus is a key role for us, especially with visitors to the Island.

“The ambassadors will add an extra dimension to our public information campaign that will continue through the summer based on the principles of ‘respect, protect, enjoy’, which has the support of the Island’s whole tourism industry.”

Will Myles, managing director of Visit Isle of Wight, said: “It’s great to see this Island Ambassador initiative to help, advise and assist our visitors and Island residents alike to feel that increased level of confidence and to mirror the Visit England national message that here on the Isle of Wight ‘We’re Good to Go’.”