Cycling UK and partners to explore equity, diversity and inclusion

Equity, equality, diversity and inclusion and how we understand these areas of work are central navigation points for the change we want to make right now and in the future. Photo: Canal & River Trust
Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) needs to be threaded through everything we do to increase visibility, representation and changes at every level. Cycling UK has partnered with other charities in active travel to become more effective in this area. Head of volunteering Alex Cuppleditch explains

The start

At the beginning of 2023, Cycling UK decided to connect with other charities with similar aims, objectives and values to discuss the opportunities and challenges surrounding increasing diversity and inclusion.

Often those voices that are least represented are those who suffer the greatest impact from poorly designed walking and cycling environments. The overarching aim of the group is to act as a network of friends to improve outcomes in this area. By doing so we want to become organisations focused on transparency, accountability and humility.

The other charities involved are:

  • Canal and River Trust
  • Living Streets
  • Ramblers
  • Sustrans

The partnership maybe open to other national organisations and charities that have similar values, missions and organisational structures in 2024. This would include such shared objectives as social wellbeing, inclusion and the environment.

We aim to be an inclusive organisation at Living Streets, but we know we still have work to do. Inequality won’t disappear without sustained efforts to challenge and eradicate it. That is why listening to other organisations, sharing ideas and finding collective approaches is so important

Aisha Hannibal, engagement manager, Living Streets


Colleagues from these organisations work in partnership to share best practice, consult and collaborate on any aspect of equity, diversity and inclusion that is relevant to all of us in the sector.

Our common purpose is to identify mutual diversity and inclusion opportunities and challenges then work towards our aims and objectives as organisations in our own right. The shared intention is supporting each other to build knowledge and understanding to improve the culture of inclusivity in our organisations.

The towpaths we look after provide access to nature and the outdoors for millions of people, including the 9 million who have waterways within a 10-minute walk. This partnership gives me a different perspective on our work, and helps the Trust provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for our customers as well as colleagues and volunteers

Cath Tomlin MBE, inclusion and diversity manager, Canal & River Trust

Aim of group

The group aims to create a non-judgemental, unbiased environment whereby we can all discuss topics openly and identify areas in which each organisation can improve its efforts to be more inclusive. This includes recognising when things are not working and being open to think creatively to undo systemic bias and cultivate a culture of belonging.

We also hope to provide understanding around the Equality Act, including any related legislation and how to implement it.

Alongside this, we offer support with compliance in other regulatory areas, including the charity code of governance.

Working in partnership with Cycling UK and the other partners has allowed us to do more together to achieve the ambition of delivering a future where anyone can enjoy the outdoors

Glen Walker, director of people, Ramblers

Frequency of meetings

The partnership group meets quarterly either online or in a London location. We will carry out a review of our desired outcomes going forward January 2024.

Terms of Reference

Under the Terms of Reference of the partnership group, we pledge to:

  • Share best practice in operations, policy and procedures
  • Openly contribute and compare diversity statistics and data
  • Consider shared communications, if appropriate and beneficial for all

We also promise to:

  • Distribute resources, partnerships and guidance that could be useful to each other’s organisations
  • Explore other potential outcomes with the group within the first six months
  • Ensure equity is at the heart of the work we collaborate on together

At Sustrans, our mission is to make it easier for everyone to walk, wheel and cycle. That means tackling well-documented inequalities in active travel, such as the gender gap in cycling and socioeconomic disparities in the quality of our walking and wheeling environments. As the largest active travel charity in the UK, we have a responsibility to make active travel more equitable, diverse and inclusive. We cannot do this alone, which is why we are pleased to work in partnership with like-minded organisations like Cycling UK, Living Streets, Ramblers and Canal & River Trust

Tiffany Lam, strategy lead – equity, diversity and inclusion, Sustrans

Benefits of partnership working

Cycling UK already works with some of the above organisations as part of the Walking and Cycling Alliance (WACA), which also comprises the Bicycle Association, British Cycling, Living Streets, Ramblers and Sustrans. The benefit of working with other organisations is that we can share best practice and learn from each other as the group acts as a sounding board.

We can also strengthen the ties between us as we work towards the common goal of making the world better for people of all backgrounds.