Hundreds attend our virtual Volunteer Celebration 2020

Anna and Lorraine - the fabulous co-hosts of the Big Bicycle Quiz!
People from all over the country took part in webinars and panel discussions led by experts, as part of Cycling UKs virtual Volunteer Celebration on Saturday, 3 October.

What happened at the Volunteer Celebration?

For the first time, like many other activities this year, the annual event celebrating our amazing volunteers took place online. Nevertheless, a day of fascinating interactive talks and discussions on the theme of diversity was followed by the hugely entertaining Big Bicycle Quiz. Our inaugural Lockdown Love Awards 2020 was attended by hundreds of our volunteers, members and supporters from all over the UK, with one even joining from as far away as Venezuela!

Head of volunteering, Alex Cuppleditch said: "Diversifying our volunteer network is extremely important to Cycling UK and the Volunteer Celebration, which took place during National Inclusion Week and at the start of Black History Month, and explored ways in which our groups, clubs and individual members can welcome people into cycling from a range of different backgrounds and identities.

"The day was successful in not only doing this, but also highlighting some of the great achievements of our incredible volunteers throughout this very challenging year, maintaining morale and helping local communities through cycling."

Safeguarding Adults

Kicking off the afternoon was a session on Safeguarding Adults in Cycling, presented by leading safeguarding consultant Ieuan Watkins exclusively for Cycling UK volunteers and cycling groups.

Attendees heard about the reasons some adults may require safeguarding, the differences between a 'vulnerable adult' and an 'adult at risk', the principles of safeguarding adults, categories of adult abuse and finally, now to deal with abuse, disclosures and allegations.

This important topic is of relevance to the many people who are active in cycling groups around the country and will help them to make riding with a group a safer and more enjoyable experience for many.

Cycling UK also has Safeguarding Policies for both adults and children, as well as reporting flowcharts and forms available to group welfare officers and others who may need them.

How to take care of all your riders and make everyone feel welcome

The next session 'An Introduction to Unconscious Bias, Diversity and Inclusivity'  was presented by Rosie Clarke of the Inclusive Employers, a consultancy seeking to make inclusion an everyday reality.

This fascinating topic looks at areas such as the nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, conformity and bias and how to overcome them, plus the differences between equality, diversity and inclusion. 

Photo: clockwise from top left: Anna Glowinski, Vicky Balfour, Jolly Oluka, Joanne Maw, Mark Holden

Do we really need inclusive cycling groups?

Following these sessions, we turned the spotlight on some of our volunteers, and the groups they represent, to examine whether there's a place for inclusivity in cycling.

A lively and inspiring panel discussion, hosted by Cycling UK's engagement officer Anna Glowinski, looked at the pros and cons of such groups with:

  • Vicky Balfour, a member of our Pumped Up Crew, a cycle mechanic, and MTB ride leader who has recently set up the 'T&C Bike Club' to help her daughter and other local special needs families access cycling.
  • Joanne Maw of CTC Swale, a Cycling UK Member Group that has successfully recruited members from all walks of life.
  • Jolly Oluka of SCOREScotland, an organisation which teaches refugee African women to cycle.
  • Mark Holden of CycleOut London, a Cycling UK affiliated group aimed at the LGBT+ community.

All the panellists were passionate about cycling changing lives and for encouraging more people to take part in it, whoever they are.

The conclusion was, that there's room for all kinds of groups in cycling. Some groups are aimed towards those with specific needs or interests, while others provide a warm welcome to those from a variety of backgrounds.

Congratulations on putting on such a fun and informative conference, I really enjoyed it.

Mark Holden, CycleOut London, guest panellist

Afterwards, Vicky said: "I thought you had a great selection of speakers and I felt we could have chatted for ages." while Mark added: "Thanks for giving me the opportunity to meet everyone and take part. Congratulations on putting on such a fun and informative conference I really enjoyed it." 

Be a Champion for Diversity

The fourth session of the day saw the launch of Cycling UK's newest volunteer role: diversity champion. Diversity and inclusion expert, Aneela McKenna, who is also a cycle adventure guide, talked participants through the role requirements, and how cycling clubs can ensure they reach a wider demographic than most often currently represented, by making their group an inclusive space for all.

For more information about this role, please contact our volunteering team

The Big Bicycle Quiz 

The grande finale of the day was our inaugural Big Bicycle Quiz, co-hosted by Anna Glowinski and Cycling UK volunteer, (and legend) Lorraine Dixon - aka 'the Big Boss' - wearing a succession of cycling caps from her vast collection. Not one to be outdone, Anna managed to rustle up some of her favourite cycling helmets in an impromptu 'hat off'! 

Participants from all over the country enjoyed the event, which was broadcast on Facebook Live and on our YouTube channel, with some small Cycling UK goodie bags for those who submitted their answer sheets afterwards.

Congratulations to winner and longtime Cycling UK member, Gary Eisenhauer, who said: "The quiz was a fun way to spend an evening, and to be honest quite tough. If it had not been for the multi-point Geography round, I would have been scuppered! Must have been the cycle touring interest that helped!". Other quizzers were equally complimentary: "Great evening, Lorraine and Anna are great hosts, really enjoying themselves - good vibes."

Braking the Cycle

While Lorraine and Anna took a well-deserved break, we welcomed Alex back to the screen to introduce a brand new short film made by our new volunteer photographer/videographer Harrison Read.

The immensely moving Braking the Cycle was inspired by Harrison's own struggle with poor mental health during lockdown and tells the stories of some of the men he has subsequently met who use cycling to help them with their own mental health, including Ellis Palmer, who is featured on the cover of the latest edition of Cycle magazine riding his hand trike. 

Going the Extra Mile: our Lockdown Love Awards

Alex then recognised all the very worthy recipients of our first ever Going the Extra Mile: Lockdown Love Award. In this unusual year, we decided not to pick overall winners, but rather praised the outstanding achievements of the individuals and groups who had been nominated for their acts of generosity during the pandemic by supporting their communities and maintaining morale through cycling.

Congratulations and Certificates of Appreciation have been sent to them all.  

Alex Cuppleditch says: "We had some really impressive and inspiring characters taking part in the webinars and activities. We have already had two new Diversity Champions apply for the group role. Our current commitments to diversity will continue through our champions and volunteering comms. Thank you to all who contributed and attended, whether as presenters, panellists, participants or viewers who made it such a success."

Volunteer in cycling

Currently, we have a limited number of geographically-based volunteering opportunities at Cycling UK.

However, you can still make a huge contribution in encouraging millions more people to cycle by becoming a PEDAL, PARTNER or PROMOTE member of our Pumped Up Crew, or a Microvolunteer