Meet our volunteers: Jo Maw, safeguarding officer
Safeguarding officers fulfil a very important role within most cycling groups. They help to create a safe and welcoming environment and a culture of inclusion and respect.
Jo Maw of Cycling UK member group CTC Swale is a professional social worker. She puts her knowledge to good use as the group’s safeguarding officer, and was nominated in Cycling UK’s Going the Extra Mile volunteer awards for 2023 as most outstanding individual for her dedication to making sure the group looks after its members as well as possible.
What made you decide to volunteer your skills?
Cycling, particularly with such a warm and welcoming club as CTC Swale, gives me so much it’s only right that I try to give something back.
I work in children’s safeguarding and I also have a role with our ambulance service as a first responder. It made sense to offer my services as safeguarding officer. I can make sure that we do all we can to keep everyone safe and well.
How much time are you able to commit?
Our members know that I am always available if they need to speak to anyone with a problem, a concern or if they need help with signposting to other services. Members speak to me on rides, message me privately or pop around for chats when they need.
What is the impact of your volunteering?
My first responder training gives me the confidence to step in if there is an accident or illness on a ride. The safeguarding and welfare aspects of my club role are needed a great deal and I hope I can make a difference to anyone seeking support or advice.
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer role?
A club ride is always a joy but it’s particularly lovely to stand back and listen to laughter and see smiles, especially after difficult times.
What are the greatest challenges you have encountered?
Our club family has endured tragedy and loss. While this has been immensely difficult, we have faced those situations together.
Of all the tasks you have helped with, what are you most proud of?
No one ever wants to have to do this, but sadly there has been a need to support the families of loyal riders we have lost and demonstrate our love and gratitude at funerals by organising tributes. To see fellow riders form guards of honour and turn up en masse filled me with pride for the club.
How has volunteering in cycling enhanced your own life?
Our club warmly welcomes everyone and has the atmosphere of an extended family. Both physically and metaphorically it is there come rain or shine. It’s great to have a sense of belonging.
How do you feel about being nominated for the Cycling UK Going the Extra Mile Volunteer Awards?
I was stunned and hugely grateful when it was announced at our AGM that I had been nominated for a Going the Extra Mile award.
What would you say to someone considering volunteering in cycling?
Any form of volunteering more than pays back what you put in. You don’t have to step outside your comfort zone, just think about what your skills are and think about how you can use them.