Thursday June 7th 2018
A day in the life of a Sheffield BID ambassador
Sheffield BID ambassadors Jamie Dean and Will Brunton joined the BID in autumn 2017, and work alongside Sheffield City Council’s 14-strong city centre ambassador team assisting businesses and visitors in the city centre.
The BID funded ambassadors help form a crucial link between local businesses and the BID, provide guidance and assistance to Sheffield’s visitors and are on the frontline, dealing with some of the issues that blight the city centre.
Jamie and Will are out and about in the city centre from 10am – 6pm Monday to Thursday and work an extended evening shift on Friday and Saturday nights from 2pm – 10pm, helping to support Sheffield’s night-time economy and late-night revellers.
We joined Jamie and Will for a shift in the city centre, to see first-hand the amazing work our BID ambassadors undertake on a daily basis. We joined them on a Friday night, when they work an extended shift from 2pm – 10pm, taking in their experience of both the day time and night time.
Jamie and Will arrive for work, the ambassador team are based at the Moor Market, with the rest of the city centre ambassador team. They get ready for their shift – all ambassadors are kitted out with a uniform to suit all weathers, a first aid kit and radio, so they’re ready to tackle whatever comes their way. Jamie and Will both wear a body cam, funded by the BID, to help protect themselves and the public during any incidents.
As they begin their shift, the ambassadors come across a young man who is attending a job interview in Sheffield. He’s new to the city and his phone is out of credit, the ambassadors help him to find the address he needs to be at online before Jamie walks him to his interview.
The ambassadors spend the early afternoon popping into businesses in the city centre, asking if there are any issues that need to be addressed, these can be both short term problems which can be solved on the day or longer term problems that need permanent solutions. The ambassadors report these long term issues back to the BID, which then investigates to see if a solution can be brought into place that positively impacts all businesses in the city centre.
In one shop, the manager is concerned that building work is blocking a fire exit, which the ambassadors ensure is investigated. It’s not all negative feedback for the ambassadors, staff at Maplin on Pinstone Street praise the BID Spring Clean, a campaign to help rid Sheffield of graffiti by offering the BID’s Clean Team services to non-levy payer commercial properties. The ambassadors helped to promote the campaign, by hand delivering leaflets to city centre businesses.
Between talking to businesses, the ambassadors are called to a medical emergency, a lady in her 80s has fallen over on Fargate. They head to the scene and suspect the lady has broken her hip. An ambulance is called and Will and Jamie administer first aid and try to keep the patient as comfortable as possible before paramedics arrive to take over.
Jamie and Will patrol well known spots for anti-social behaviour, businesses often voice their concerns about groups gathering near their premises, a visible ambassador presence helps deter people from these areas.
As they patrol a young man called Josh shouts for Jamie, who recognises Josh because he was sleeping rough a few weeks ago and Jamie had directed him to services that may be able to help him. Josh tells the ambassadors that he’s now sorted himself out – “you’re a good guy,” he tells Jamie.
As Jamie and Will patrol the streets into the evening, they come across Charlie, a 78-year-old who has become lost and confused in the city centre. The duo determine where he lives, walk him down to the bus interchange and help him on to the correct bus. They speak with the driver, who will make sure Charlie gets off at the right stop and can make his way home safely.
As the streets get busier with people enjoying the start to their weekend, Jamie and Will pop into pubs and bars to see if there are any issues affecting the night time economy. Where possible, PSCOs will join them on evening shifts, to increase a visible presence in the city centre. A typical night shift can involve dealing with fights, vulnerable people and moving beggars on. There is also a lot of way pointing for people visiting Sheffield for a night out.
A call comes through on the ambassador’s radio about a spice user who has gone into a zombie like state outside McDonalds on High Street, workers are concerned the man may need medical assistance. When Jamie and Will arrive, the man is slipping in and out of this state and is assessed by the ambassadors, who check his vital signs and decide he does not need medical attention. They stay with the man, who takes about 20 minutes to come round fully, during that time Jamie and Will reassure the public and keep an eye on the man. Once he comes round, they ask if he’s okay and move him on.
“We spend too much time dealing with the effects of spice use in Sheffield city centre,” says Will. “Time that we could be spending talking to businesses or helping people more in need of our assistance.”
“It’s my least favourite thing about the job,” says Jamie. “Too much of our time is taken up by self-inflicted intoxication, taking us away from the businesses and people who need us.”
As the ambassadors enter the final hour of their shift, they come across a very drunk young woman, who’s in distress and has lost her friends. She’s wandering around by herself and is vulnerable, so the ambassadors stop to talk to her and put her on a train home. They contact her Nannan, who will pick her up from the station and ensure she gets home safe.
As they return to base, the ambassadors move on a beggar who is hassling drinkers in Leopold Square. They walk him away from the area.
Back at base we ask the ambassadors what they love about the job. “It’s that sense of freedom you get from being outside all day and the personal pride you feel when the work you do is recognised and praised by both the businesses we work with and the public. It’s nice to be appreciated,” says Will.
“For me it’s being in the fresh air and meeting people, I would hate to be stuck behind a desk,” says Jamie. “Walking around and seeing the positive impact our job has is great. We see graffiti being removed and mess being cleared and get to help people on a daily basis.”
If you ever spot a BID ambassador in the city centre, be sure to say hello!Share this article