Emily Hope talks about winning Tourism Superstar 2019 and her work as a Dementia Friends Champion

As it says on the screen, I’m Emily Hope and I’m Visitor Welcome and Retail Team Leader at Beamish Museum, and this year I won the national Tourism Superstar competition. So first of all I just like to introduce
you all to Beamish if you’ve never been, or never heard of it. We’re an open-air
museum which shares the sights, sounds, tastes of the Georgian, Edwardian,
1940s and the 1950s. So I’m hoping that you’ve got a little bit of a grasp as to
what we do, which is why I’m dressed slightly oddly today! And, so as part of
my role at the museum I look after all visitor welcome for the entrance
building and ensure that everybody who comes through our doors has an
unforgettable experience. My team and I are always on hand to answer any queries
and assist with any visitor who may need our assistance. We really go above and
beyond to help and I’m really, really proud to work there. One of the best
things I’ve done since working at the museum is actually becoming a Dementia
Friends Champion, and for those of you who don’t know about Dementia Friends
it’s a nationwide initiative set up by the Alzheimer’s Society and it aims to put
a stop to the stigma which is associated with dementia which is quite often
negative, and it tries to raise positive awareness that people can actually still
live well with dementia. As a Dementia Friends Champion I’ve trained over 200
members of staff and volunteers at the museum and people across the community. Earlier this year, VisitEngland contacted me and asked if Beamish would
like to be part of their Dementia Friendly Tourism Guide, and I’m sure
you’re all guessing that I obviously said yes! We’re really really proud
that we were able to share our experiences and help other organizations
become more accessible for those people living with dementia. Winning Durham and national Tourism Superstar was an incredible experience and an honour that
I am so so proud to carry for the whole region. Being part of the whole
nomination process was amazing and I got to meet nine other
inspirational people who are all worthy of the title. I got to visit some
fantastic places and got to share the fantastic work that Beamish Museum
does with the whole country. Winning the award was unbelievable, and I have never
felt so proud to be from the North East of England. The support I received
from Beamish and the whole of Durham was amazing. The museum did a fantastic
effort convincing everybody to vote for me, and it did actually reduce me to
tears reading all of the lovely comments on social media from everybody. If any of
you are thinking about applying or have a Superstar within any of your teams, I
really really would recommend it. It’s not only a great personal achievement,
but it’s fantastic for your organization and it can really build a true community
spirit among your staff, volunteers and members of the public.

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