The raffle – how your money helps

Funds from our raffle help Cycling UK campaign for things like better access to trails
Our Summer Raffle – open now – isn’t just about the great prizes you could win. The money raised goes towards supporting the vital work Cycling UK does. Digital officer Rebecca Armstrong looks at how it’s helped over the years

This year's big Summer Raffle from Cycling UK opened on 29 July, with some fantastic prizes on offer, including a first prize of a Raleigh e-cycle worth £1,699 and second prize of a Garmin bundle comprising a Garmin Edge 1040 Solar and Varia Taillight RCT715 worth £1,329.97.

It costs just £1 per ticket and tickets can be bought online or via post. But in addition to these fantastic prizes, there are some very good reasons to enter – because every pound goes towards supporting the work of Cycling UK, making cycling better for everyone. Here’s how your money helps us improve cycling throughout the country.

Good investment

Since 2018, a huge total of £163,552.50 has been raised from our winter and summer raffles. This includes an amazing £55,000 from 2021 alone. But where does this money go? 

The money from raffles is what’s known in the trade as ‘unrestricted income’. This is contrasted with ‘restricted income’. The latter is funding Cycling UK receives from governments and other organisations to deliver particular projects. This money is ring-fenced – it can only be used for the named project.

Examples of this include Big Bike Revival in England, which is funded by the Department for Transport, and Shift in Scotland, funded by Transport Scotland. These projects are similar in that both award grants to local organisations help more people cycle. This might be by fixing up a broken bike, teaching people to fix their own, or putting on led rides to give people the confidence to ride more.

This sort of funding is essential. It helps us to encourage many more people to cycle, making cycling safer, more accessible and better for all. But it isn’t everything we do, and there are many things we do that complement our projects work.

A good example is our route creation work. Our long-distance, off-road routes in Cornwall (the West Kernow Way), Kent (the Cantii Way) and Norfolk (the forthcoming Rebellion Way) are financed by EXPERIENCE, an EU-funded project aimed at boosting visitor numbers in six pilot regions across England and France.

The funding means we can plan, create, test, publicise and launch these routes. It means we can work with local councils and businesses, as well as cyclists, to deliver a route that works for everyone. We couldn’t do this without the restricted income that comes from EXPERIENCE.

But it’s no good planning lots of off-road routes if off-road access is problematic. This is where unrestricted income comes in. It allows us to fight for cyclists’ rights – whether that’s at a local level or nationally.

Funds raised from raffles are used to support campaigning for better access for cyclists. This doesn’t apply so much to Scotland, where the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 granted universal access rights for all trail users, subject to those rights being exercised responsibly. In England, though, cyclists are limited to just 22% of the Rights of Way network, and 21% in Wales.

This is rarely due to the suitability of the trail. Cyclists – along with horse riders – are restricted to byways and bridleways; footpaths are off limits. There are often wide and well-surfaced tracks that could easily be used by all, but aren’t, simply because, as Cycling UK’s head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore puts it, “someone years ago decided to call it a footpath rather than a byway”.

Unrestricted income, like that from the raffles, allows us to fight for better access. The successful Trails for Wales campaign, in conjunction with OpenMTB, culminated, in April 2019, in a commitment from the Welsh Government to open up more trails to cyclists and horse riders. Maybe now it’s time for a Trails for England campaign.

Campaign wins

One highly visible – and in some areas controversial – campaign success was our demand for changes and clarifications to the Highway Code. This was the conclusion of more than a decade of work to improve the rules to better protect vulnerable road users.

In Wales, our ‘20 mph: lower speeds, better streets’ campaign led to the Welsh Government introducing a default 20mph speed limit on residential roads and busy pedestrian streets. But there’s more to be done: Scotland rejected 20mph limits and it’s very piecemeal in England.

Funds from the raffles – among other streams, including, crucially, membership – help to support this vital work. Cycling UK campaigns hard on behalf of our members and cyclists everywhere to improve infrastructure, access to cycles, and safety, making cycling more accessible for everyone.

This income also helps us help you campaign locally, too. We can’t be everywhere; we’re very good at working on a national level, but when it comes to local communities, you have a much better idea of what’s required. Through our Cycle Advocacy Network, we can help provide the training, resources, tools and guidance needed for cyclists to campaign to improve their local area.

Shout it out

Lobbying at both the local and national levels is an important part of what we do. Most recently, we pressed all political parties in local elections in Wales, Scotland and parts of England as well as national elections in Northern Ireland on their commitment to active travel, launching cycling manifestos in all four nations.

We hosted a hustings during the national elections in Northern Ireland with representatives from the six main parties; all of them committed to support our manifesto of spending 10% of the transport budget on active travel and introduce an active travel act.

We also went to the COP26 international climate summit in Glasgow, to highlight the role cycling can play in tackling climate change. We projected onto notable buildings the message ‘This machine fights climate change’, which went viral. This helped get cycling and sustainable travel added to the COP26 transport declaration.

In the community

Revenue from streams such as the raffles allows us to engage with local people to encourage more to get out on their cycles. This might take the form of Community Cycle Clubs. These differ from member groups in that they’re run by local organisations, facilitated by us. The idea is to reach those people who don’t regularly cycle and provide them with the means to do so, improving access and diversifying cycling.

But of course our member groups benefit too. Groups can apply for our training courses for both off- and on-road ride leading, cycle maintenance and first aid, and we’ll send an expert training provider to train participants. There’s also our suite of member benefits.

The money from every raffle ticket sold goes directly towards our vital work, so you know that with every ticket you buy you’re helping improve cycling for everyone. And you might win one of those prizes! Let’s see if we can smash last year’s total of £55,000.