Dudley has got its first ever ambassador as part of the £6.7 million transformation of the town centre.

The Dudley Ambassador is liaising directly with town centre business and will support them by boosting business and increasing visitors to shops and attractions.

Communications professional Nikki Cheung has taken up this new role, which is partly-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and partly by Dudley Council.

Two new apprenticeship places will also be created to enhance the scheme, which will be based in town centre premises, yet to be confirmed.

A key challenge for the team will be to recruit volunteers to act as champions for the town centre across the Castle Hill tourist attraction area and in and around the new market place, to offer visitors information on events and attractions in the town centre.

This initiative builds on the £6.7m physical regeneration of the town centre, which is underway, to transform the market place and improve the shopping experience.

Wider investment projects taking place in Dudley include the Dudley College developments, Townscape Heritage Initiative works to refurbish older buildings in the town, the Castle Hill regeneration venture around Dudley Zoo and Castle, The Black Country Museum and Dudley Canal Trust, and attracting a major supermarket into the town.

Commenting on her new position, Nikki said:

“This is a really exciting time to work in Dudley.  Millions of pounds are being invested to improve the town and I am delighted to be a part of this.

“Part of my role is to shout about the many things that are attractive and unique to the town.  This will be everything from its fascinating history and architectural features, which are still being uncovered, to its thriving cafe and independent shops scene.  I will also organise events in the town centre, with the first one being the Small Business Saturday Christmas market, which is taking place in Stone Street Square on Saturday December 6.”

Councillor Judy Foster, cabinet member for regeneration, said:

“The Dudley Ambassadors team is an integral part of the resources that we are ploughing into Dudley to regenerate the town; and the future recruitment of community volunteers sits squarely within our Love Your Community programme.

“The ambassador initiative strengthened our bid to secure £6.7m for Dudley.  Without the ambassador role we may not have been able to conduct the physical improvements to the town centre, and I think that it will add a vital extra element to Dudley’s regeneration.

“I believe that the scheme is unique to the region and I wish Nikki and her future team every success.”