THE tourism industry in Northern Ireland is set to get a boost as 15 White Badge accredited tour guides graduated at Clifton House for the Belfast Charitable Society on Wednesday 26th June, 2019.

The Belfast Charitable Society has been named as the first heritage site in Northern Ireland to receive this prestigious qualification and enables them to offer a culturally rich and informative experience for those visiting Belfast’s oldest public building, Clifton House. This has been made possible through the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Clifton House is now on a parallel to Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and Hampton Court as the white badge tour guide is accredited by the Institute of Tourist Guiding and required at these renowned heritage sites.

Sir Ronnie Weatherup, President of the Belfast Charitable Society, who awarded the certificates commented;

“Tourism has now become an important part of our economy and with visitor expectations high, we want to not only meet but exceed what tourists assume they will learn about Northern Ireland, Belfast and our history.

“We are delighted that 15 of our volunteers have achieved this highly respected White Badge accreditation today, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. The volunteers, who reside locally, come from a range of places and backgrounds: from North Belfast to Russia; and from teaching, law, voluntary work to caretaking; some speaking a second language including Mandarin and Russian – we are excited by the diversity of our guides as well as their knowledge!”

Clifton House is an impressive Georgian building, set in tranquil landscaped gardens in the heart of Belfast. Opened in 1774 by Belfast Charitable Society, the building was used until the early 1880s as Belfast’s Poor House. The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded Belfast Charitable Society/Clifton House with almost £15,000, which has allowed the Society to train these volunteers. Clifton House tours run daily Monday to Friday in July and August at 3pm, less the 12 and 15 July.

Úna Duffy, Head of Engagement with the Fund comments;

“We were delighted to award funding to Belfast Charitable Society for this project and it is great to see it come to fruition with 15 excellent white badge tour guides in Belfast. Clifton House and the Society are integral to the heritage of Belfast and providing this high quality training to local people has enabled them to share the heritage with Belfast’s growing tourist visitors.

“The National Lottery Heritage Fund is always keen to support heritage organisations and projects that are looking for new ways to work with and involve people. It is thanks to players of the National Lottery that we can support projects like this one. Congratulations to the Society and to the tour guides who have worked so hard to get their White Badges.”

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