Cathedral begins delivery of new training programme for Guides

On Wednesday 1 February, Christ Church Cathedral welcomed nine new Guides, and six existing Guides, to the first session of a brand-new bespoke training programme.

The new training is part of the Cathedral’s efforts to invest in developing and enhancing the visitor experience. It aims to equip the volunteers with both the factual knowledge and the practical skills necessary to join the Cathedral Guides team.

By the end of the course, we hope they will feel confident to interact with visitors on an informal basis during a shift on the Cathedral floor, deliver short talks, and give a range of free and paid guided tours.

Sessions include learning about the Anglo-Saxon monastery of St Frideswide, the architectural evolution and development of the Cathedral, and identifying and explaining the scars of Reformation and Civil War iconoclasts.

Cathedral Guide Patrick Leavey said of the new training:

Being a guide is one of the many ways in which those of us who are lucky enough to be part of the Cathedral’s volunteer community can welcome visitors from near and far; we hope that sharing our love and knowledge of such a beautiful place can help to enrich the experience of those coming to Christ Church, alongside the music, the embroidery and all the other gifts that make up the spirit of the Cathedral; it was wonderful to welcome new members to our training this week and now we can confidently plan to  expand and vary our engagement with visitors.”

Guided Tours are a vital part of the Cathedral’s visitor experience, with many visitors commenting on how much they value the expert and friendly tours offered by the Guides. Our Cathedral Guides are all volunteers, giving up their time freely, for which the Cathedral is immensely grateful. It takes approximately twelve 3-hour sessions of training before new guides are able to undertake solo guided tours around the Cathedral. Before then, they are teamed up with an existing Cathedral Guide as a buddy who will help mentor them and improve their confidence as they grow into their new roles.

Miranda Hockcliffe, Volunteer and Visitor Coordinator at the Cathedral, said:

“Our Guides bring the Cathedral to life for visitors, and point out hidden treasures that otherwise might be missed. We know that visitors love exploring the Cathedral with our expert Guides and this new training programme will benefit Guides and visitors alike. Of course, we are always searching for new Guides and I would welcome any enquiries from people wishing to learn more about the role”

Cathedral Guides can be identified by the blue robes they wear, and are always willing to answer questions or give a tour around the Cathedral if asked.