Celebration in Parliament

Leicester Cycle Champions outside Parliament
CTC staff and those inspired to cycle through the CTC Cycle Champions programme were invited to a celebration of their achievements at Parliament, hosted by Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP.

CTC's Cycle Champions programme ran from 2008 - 2012 and was funded by the Big Lottery. CTC employed 13 officers in different local authorities to roll out the cycle engagement programme.


In Leicester, the CTC Cycling Champions Project provided around £400,000 in funding in order to promote cycling to people and organisations, especially within communities where there were low levels of cycling or taking exercise.

Overall, the programme in Leicester worked with over 5000 people across the 4 years, double the target set by the Big Lottery."

Elizabeth Barner
CTC Cycle Champions Officer in Leicester

Three people who were a key part of the project in Leicester joined Elizabeth Barner in Parliament on Monday evening.

Pastor Samuel Gapara who runs a Gospel Choir where most of the singers now travel by bike to rehearsals and performances. His enthusiasm and care helped to spread cycling in the city. 

Mariyam Osman and Ntumba Shindani, who joined the project in Autumn 2012 visited London for the first time for the reception at Parliament. They both came through all weathers and overcame quite a lot of fear to complete a new riders' course in Beaumont Leys. They have gone on to inspire others in the neighbourhood to try cycling. 

Ntumba Shindani, originally from DRC, said: "For me the project was not just about getting fit, there's so much more to it. It's about changing lives and getting communities together - that's my story."

Mariyam said: "Meeting all those people in Parliament was inspirational. To see so many people from different backgrounds involved in cycling - I feel part of a revolution."

Mariyam continues:"It used to be that when my children went out on their bikes whenever we reached a road I would call 'stop' and make them them get off their bikes and walk across. Now I'm confident to say 'get your pedals ready', because I now know about the roads."

The future

This year, and until March 2015, Leicester City Council is continuing to fund the project, though in slightly different areas of the city; mainly west of the river, but including Belgrave and the city centre).

This renewed project aims especially to offer support to people who are unemployed for any reason - from lack of work to parenting, retirement or disability. Funding is from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, provided to the City Council by DfT.