Volunteers play a fundamental role in the development of cycling and have been instrumental in driving the growth of British Cycling’s flagship programme for young people, Go-Ride, which is supported by the bicycle industry via the Bike Hub fund. This is a voluntary levy scheme, which engages Bicycle Association members and independent bike dealers across the country in making a contribution to a national fund to “safeguard the future of cycling”. Bike Hub has raised over £350,000 p.a. from the cycle industry and independent bike dealers for the last 10 years. Go-Ride is Bike Hub’s principal project.
This year, the Go-Ride team is focussing on increasing the support available for its network of over 6,000 volunteers, whether young or old, starting out on their volunteering journey or serving stalwarts of the sport. Following the recent success of the 2015 Go-Ride conferences, which provided an opportunity to bring together volunteers from across the regions, focus now turns to the National Youth Forum and the development of the pathway for adult volunteers.
The National Youth Forum was established by British Cycling to give young people the chance to turn ideas into opportunities and raise awareness of the sport in the community – to cyclists and non-cyclist alike. Since its creation two years ago, the representatives of the National Youth Forum are establishing themselves as the go-to-group to represent the views of young people in cycling.
Now entering its third year, a new cohort of seven young volunteers have been selected to sit alongside five returning young volunteers on the forum, with all 12 representatives coming together for the first time last month at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.
The forum provides the young volunteers with the opportunity to develop leadership and communications skills, influence British Cycling initiatives, participate in training and team building activities, meet other young cycling volunteers and take all they have learnt back into Go-Ride clubs to help develop and support other young people.
During the first two years, the National Youth Forum has achieved an incredible number of successes, including the organisation of the first women-only Go-Ride Racing event, being voted to sit on the National Council, attending the Cycle Show to raise awareness of young people’s contribution, producing marketing materials to help clubs effectively engage with young people and presenting to over 500 volunteers at the Go-Ride Conferences.
To further support the volunteers involved in Go-Ride Clubs, British Cycling has now launched a new volunteering section on its website. With specific content for Go-Ride club contacts, volunteer coaches, club welfare officers and volunteer coordinators, the pages provide insight into which training each role requires, the additional support available for these roles and other useful resources.
British Cycling is also in the process of developing a new programme of training to help support the volunteer workforce at Go-Ride Clubs across the country, based on the results of a recent volunteer training survey. The training, which will help to underpin whole club development, will focus on three key areas; securing club funding, the role of the volunteer coordinator and British Cycling’s Club Management Tool. It will be delivered through a combination of face to face workshops and online webinars