New measures to help Swanage cope with visitor influx

As tourists flocked to the beach over the Bank Holiday weekend, improvements to Swanage’s seafront are being introduced including more seafront advisors, new litter bins, new bike racks and additional street cleaning.

This has been made possible after Swanage was given a slice of government cash to welcome back tourists to the seaside resort following the easing of Covid restrictions.

Councils across England are getting a share of £56 million from the Welcome Back Fund and some of the money that Dorset Council received has been allocated to Swanage.

Swanage Beachfront advisors

Seafront advisors Jack Tasker and Jo Hanington are easy to spot in bright orange tops

Rota staff over seven days a week

The town has had seafront advisors, formerly called beach wardens, for many years but with the extra money it will allow Swanage Town Council to rota staff over seven days a week and boost the number to four advisers at peak times during the summer.

With Covid restrictions still in place when travelling abroad it’s anticipated that 2021 will be the year of the great British staycation.

With Dorset’s mild climate, beaches and countryside, the county is expecting higher visitor numbers than ever before. This bank holiday weekend saw large numbers heading straight to the beach.

In Swanage, the seafront advisors in their bright orange polo shirts are here to help both tourists and residents.

Swanage Beachfront advisor

Seafront advisor, Ken Moulder chatting to local residents

“It’s a great team – multi skilled and multi talented!”

Visitor services manager for Swanage Town Council, Culvin Milmer said:

“We’re really pleased to be benefitting from the Welcome Back Fund. We were always planning to have seafront advisors this year but it was looking as if we’d be thinly stretched, so this extra money has really helped.

“It’s a great team – multi skilled and multi talented! Being able to appoint extra staff means we can do more and provide a better service from picking up litter to giving directions to visitors. The main aim is to deal with issues before they become a problem.”

Swanage Beachfront advisor mending lock on beach hut

A variety of maintenance jobs

The seafront advisor team undertakes a variety of maintenance jobs including tidying up, weeding, cleaning the bins, fixing the beach huts, organising the boat park, as well as being a mine of Swanage-related information.

While most of the seafront advisors are hired for the summer, Ken Moulder is employed all year round and as well as working along the beach he also works at Swanage Market in the Main Beach car park, helping the stall holders and answering queries. He said:

“We get as many questions from locals as we do visitors – there’s always something to know more about.

“I like absolutely everything about this job – being outdoors, getting out in the sunshine, talking to people and getting to know the regular visitors. It’s like being the face of Swanage.”

Seafront advisor Jo Hanington talking to some walkers

“I like to leave people smiling!

New recruit Jo Hanington added:

“When I first started in the job, it was mainly residents that I’d get to see and I think many were so happy to be able to get out after lockdown and have a chat with a friendly face – I like to leave people smiling!

“We have to be adaptable – one minute I feel I’m a community off-loader of information, but the next it will be something else. The other day I ended up waiting for three hours with a woman who’d had a fall, until the ambulance arrived. It’s the community feel to the town that I like.”

Seafront advisor Jack Tasker answering a query from a visitor

“I love Swanage”

Another seafront advisor, Jack Tasker grew up in Swanage and has lived here for 18 years. He said:

“I love Swanage and know all the places to go and all the back streets. It’s good to be able to help people and it’s also a nice feeling to be appreciated.”

While the seafront advisors have already been recruited, the new bins and bike racks have yet to be installed but that is expected to be done over the next few weeks.

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