Cycling UK announces the results of its Volunteer Awards 2023

Two young men stand side by side in front of a garden hedge on a pavement. They are both holding a certificate
Brian Shannon of Belfast Cycling Campaign (left), winner of Most Inspiring Campaign Activity category, receives his Certificate of Appreciation from Andrew McClean, Cycling UK engagement officer for Northern Ireland. Photo: Rory O'Neill
As Volunteers' Week starts today, Thursday 1 June, Cycling UK is delighted to announce the winners and runners-up who've been selected from dozens of nominations across four categories in its Volunteer Awards 2023

People who volunteer in cycling are the backbone of Cycling UK's activities around the UK. Whether they are campaigners, event organisers, ride leaders, group committee members, competition organisers or undertake other roles, they all contribute enormously to our mission to get millions more people cycling. 

The successful nominees are being recognised for the quality of the nominations received and their outstanding contributions, as well as the way in which they reflect the diversity of the many different activities Cycling UK engages in across the United Kingdom.

Chief executive officer Sarah Mitchell says: "I am hugely grateful to the many dedicated volunteers who support the work of Cycling UK in so many big and small ways - campaigning, running our local clubs, leading health walks in Scotland, organising events, fundraising, acting as trustees - the list goes on. Particular thanks go to our long-standing volunteers who have dedicated many years, often decades, to Cycling UK's endeavours. All of this makes a huge difference to getting more people cycling and showing the huge benefits riding bikes can bring to society."

Most inspiring individual (open to any Cycling UK volunteer)

WINNER - Kim Suleman - Linskill Riders, Northumberland

Kim Suleman (above) received many glowing tributes from members of Linskill Riders, a Community Cycle Club (CCC) affiliated to Cycling UK based just outside Newcastle. They nominated her in the Most Inspiring Individual category. The nominators said:

"Kim is an enthusiastic and supportive member of our CCC. She only qualified as a ride leader last year but hasn't looked back - not only does she help facilitate rides, she also now regularly leads her own. She is supportive of all riders and goes that extra mile to support new members; for example, she went to a local bike shop and on a trial ride with one member to help her choose the correct bike for her.

"She is an inspiring, very motivated volunteer, who works hard in her role as a group leader. She makes time to organise, help, support, and plan, before, during and after the rides. She is very welcoming to new riders, has a great sense of humour and plays a big part in keeping the group together and enjoying cycling.

"She has only been cycling for just over two years. Kim is just amazing! She plans, organises and leads lots of rides promoting camaraderie within the group with her infectious enthusiasm. She ensures variety in terms of length, difficulty and location of the rides so no one is left out. We always have great fun no matter the weather."

Kim says: "I am very humbled and surprised that people have taken the time to nominate me. I devote eight to 10 hours per week to volunteering, ensuring everyone has more rides to choose from during the week, which has led to an increase in numbers of people getting out on their bikes which in turn builds confidence on the bike. A few of the group live on their own so it's a great opportunity to ride in a group and make new friends."

She adds: "I love volunteering, meeting people from all walks of life, I have become a more confident cyclist and enjoy giving a little of my time to ensure the members of our group keep on cycling."

Most inspiring group or club (open to all Cycling UK groups and community cycling clubs)

WINNER - Cycling Minds, Northumberland

Also based in the North East of England, Cycling Minds is another CCC achieving great things. Founded by Toby Price in 2021, he says: "The group is located in an area with very limited provision for cyclists, both in terms of places to get their bikes fixed, to purchase parts, and to take part in cycling activities.

"We opened The Link Community Cycle Hub in April 2022, where we service bikes, sell new and second-hand parts and clothing as well as refurbished second-hand bikes, which have been very popular - again because the nearest alternative is to make a round trip of 30 miles to the nearest bike shop."

Amongst the many citations submitted for the group were the following: "The group has run lots of events for Cycling UK and other organisations, installed two public bike repair stations for people to use, with another two on the way, and serviced hundreds of bikes and refurbished and sold many more.

"It's a charitable organisation helping to promote cycling, particularly in relation to mental health and young people. Lovely people doing great work. Cycling Minds in Hexham has made a significant contribution to the local community in Tynedale, and has made a very positive impact on wellbeing and mental health through encouraging more people to cycle.

It’s great to see our work being recognised, especially as a new organisation. We have plenty to be proud of since we launched, although it has been an uphill battle with lots of challenges along the way. Knowing an established organisation like Cycling UK recognises the value of what we have started makes all the hard work worthwhile

Toby Price, founder Cycling Minds Community Cycling Club

"Cycling Minds founder Toby Price has worked tirelessly and with passion to establish this project and is passing on his extensive cycling knowledge to young people and other volunteers. The team, mostly volunteers, are passionate and engaged and are a credit to the cycling community."

On being told of his group's success in the Cycling UK Volunteer Awards 2023, Toby says: "It’s great to see our work being recognised, especially as a new organisation. We have plenty to be proud of since we launched, although it has been an uphill battle with lots of challenges along the way. Knowing an established organisation like Cycling UK recognises the value of what we have started makes all the hard work worthwhile."

Most inspiring campaign activity

WINNER - Brian Shannon, Belfast Cycle Campaign

Nominated by Andrew McClean, Cycling UK engagement officer for Northern Ireland, Brian (pictured in the main image with his award) has been an active member of our Cycle Advocacy Network for around a year. Andrew says: "Brian has put hours of volunteering into supporting events and initiatives, such as Cycling UK 'event evenings', Belfast Bike buses, and he is a founding member of the Belfast Cycle Campaign. Brian has also delivered a session on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods at the Cork Socio-Cycle Symposium, alongside Cycling UK staff.  

"On top of this, Brian has also pioneered the 'Share our Cars Belfast' scheme for residents of local areas to share cars in order to reduce the need for car ownership and car dependency.  Brian has leafleted residents, been featured in our national media - both in print and radio - lobbied council and politicians in the Assembly for support and legislative change, and managed to get several groups together committed to sharing their cars.  

"Throughout this scheme he has maintained his core message that car sharing is not a way to give more people access to cars - it is a way to get more people to walk, wheel and cycle for journeys where they do not need a car. Brian himself is car-free and uses his cargo bike and electric bike for the majority of his journeys."

Brian, on receiving the news of his award, said: "I’m delighted that my efforts to improve the liveability of our cities has been recognised by Cycling UK."

Most engaging volunteer-led event of the year

WINNER - Fife and Kinross CTC Centenary Celebrations

An amazing century after it was formed, this Cycling UK member group is still going strong. They celebrated their centenary year in 2022 in style with a wide range of activities organised by the committee, led by chair Linda Body.

They planned a series of events throughout the year, including a family-friendly treasure hunt, several longer group rides, a celebration dinner and even a traditional Scottish ceilidh!

These events brought members new and old to celebrate the years gone by and build excitement for the years ahead.

Get involved

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees for their outstanding contributions to Cycling UK's mission to enable more people to cycle. Their names will now be added to our Roll of Honour with Going the Extra Mile certificates and badges on their way to them. You will be able to find out more about them in the Aug/Sept issue of Cycle magazine and in our newsletters over the coming weeks. 

Do you know outstanding volunteers who should be thanked and recognised not just during Volunteers' Week but all year round? Use some of our top tips to thank them in a meaningful way

Going the Extra Mile Volunteer Awards shortlist

Most inspiring individual (open to any Cycling UK volunteer)

  • Ahmad Askaryzadeh - Bradford Capital of Cycling
  • Jo Maw - CTC Swale
  • Kim Suleman - Linskill Riders - WINNER
  • Michelle Tonge – Horwich Ride Social
  • Stephen Dee – British Cycle Quest Volunteer Validator
  • Sue Booth – Chester Fabulous Ladies
  • Sue Coles – Winchester CTC

Most inspiring group or club (open to all Cycling UK groups and community cycling clubs)

  • Chester Cycling Campaign
  • Cycling 4 All Shropshire
  • Cycling Minds, Northumberland - WINNER
  • Horwich Ride Social
  • Ride on Sistas, Leicester
  • Women on Bikes, Liverpool
  • Yate Community Bike Hub

Most inspiring campaign activity

  • Brian Shannon - Belfast Cycling Campaign - WINNER
  • Meg Hoyt - North Belfast Cycling Campaign
  • Richard Gale - MTB Guides Keswick
  • Sue Coles - Winchester CTC
  • York Cycle Campaign - 42 Ways to Transform York

Most engaging volunteer-led event of the year

  • Fife and Kinross Centenary Celebrations - WINNER
  • Gridiron 100, Wessex Cycling
  • Kiddical Mass, Guildford