A reason to volunteer for Cycling UK

Volunteering for Cycling UK has many benefits for society - and for you. Photo by Julie Skelton
Head of volunteering, Alex Cuppleditch describes the benefits of being a volunteer for Cycling UK, and how you can get involved in being part of our mission to get millions more people cycling.

A slower pace of life

Anybody else feel like 2020 lasted for two years? Spared from the many demands of everyday life, such as rushing to catch trains or cramming in too many social engagements, we started to take more notice of birdsong and appreciated the local nature and architecture that many of us would have gone past in a rush previously.

Though the Amazon was still hit by deforestation, other parts of the world’s environment have had a chance to breathe and regrow: wildlife has reclaimed some urban spaces and nature reserves have seen a new lease of life.

Our overall human carbon footprint was reduced due to the enforced lockdown: reducing our consumption of fossil fuels and unnecessary items resulted in the largest drop of CO2 emissions in our history – 7% according to the Global Carbon Project. This has demonstrated the possibility of us drastically changing our behaviour when we have to. If we are to tackle climate change effectively, this reduction must continue. 

The right choice to cycle

But most relevant for cycling was the reduction in motorised traffic, making the roads clearer, the air cleaner and a much safer cycling environment for all. This was great for all existing cyclists, allowing them to really enjoy the benefits of local roads, especially those in an inner city environment, and for new and unconfident cyclists to finally brave riding the bike on the road with families and friends. This has been a revolution and really demonstrates that, when the environment is appropriate and safe, people will make the right choice and cycle.

Why is volunteering so important?

Despite all this, more people still need encouragement to cycle in the UK and you can help them to do this by being a volunteer for Cycling UK, a charity that exists to promote and enable cycling in all its forms to as many of those people as possible, whatever their background. Volunteering not only benefits Cycling UK and the local community, but it can also help individuals as well. Here are some of the main reasons how:

  • A sense of purpose – volunteering allows you the experience of giving and receiving: you provide your time and energy, and in return get a sense of belonging to a community or movement and feeling valued for your contribution. You will be part of a network of over 6,000 Cycling UK volunteers aiming to change the UK into a cycling nation.
  • Support for Cycling UK – as a volunteer for our national charity, you are working towards supporting our mission of enabling a million more individuals to cycle, spreading the joy of cycling, campaigning for better infrastructure, supporting new individuals to start cycling and much more.
  • Recognition - on average, the value of an individual volunteer to the organisation is over £600 per annum, and the entire Cycling UK volunteer network’s value is nearly £2.5m. So, your contribution is essential for our charitable vision, and there will be a huge pat on the back and massive gratitude from us for your involvement.
  • Contribution - volunteering within a group or project contributes directly to your community, making it a better place to cycle, creating a healthier society, and enabling local cycling groups to function and evolve.
  • Wellbeing – volunteering provides you with a sense of wellbeing by giving you the chance to get outside amongst like-minded individuals undertaking an activity that warms your soul. Impacts include: greater happiness, higher life satisfaction, a better quality of life, reduced anxiety and lower levels of depression. Our volunteer satisfaction survey last year demonstrated that our volunteer network has a higher wellbeing rating than the national average
  • Fun – volunteering is fun! You get to undertake a task in an area you are passionate about, or to develop a skill you never thought you had, so if you’re not already a volunteer in cycling, give it a go!
  • Career development – volunteering can enhance your CV and give you the chance to learn valuable life skills such as interacting with the public, drafting campaigns, photography skills and much more.
  • Support and training - as a Cycling UK volunteer, you will have access to:
    • Online support – our monthly webinar Time with Tom gives information and advice on best practice and any support you need with your role.
    • Training - we have optional training modules for certain volunteer roles delivered via Assemble, our volunteer engagement platform.
    • Velocheer - our quarterly newsletter for all our volunteers.

What volunteering roles are available during lockdown?

Obviously, the pandemic has limited the amount of volunteer roles available. However, we still have ways that you can get involved in the cycling revolution:

  • Be part of the Pumped Up Crew in a Partner, Pedal or Promote role and spread the word about our campaigns, programmes and local projects to support new and existing cyclists.
  • Become a Micro volunteer and complete small, online tasks you can complete from home when it is convenient for you.
  • Join our Cycle Advocacy Network and help us improve cycling for everybody.
  • Take part in the British Cycle Quest, our national treasure hunt for cyclists, and report back to us if any checkpoints in your local area are in need of revision - send us a photo of yourself at the checkpoint if possible!
  • Become a Volunteer Photographer, and contribute your images to our magazine, website and other publications.
  • Consider becoming a Diversity Champion for your group or club and help open up cycling to people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, religions and abilities.
  • Nominate somebody for our Lockdown Love Awards 2021 and let us know about them so we can sing their praises!

See our Volunteer Opportunities and see all the roles available to you by putting your postcode into the search box - as restrictions ease, many more will be added.

Get in touch

To find out more about volunteering with Cycling UK, look at our Volunteer Hub or contact the Volunteering Team

Further reading