Introducing the new Scotland National Advisory Committee

At the Cycling UK Scotland AGM, a new National Advisory Committee for Scotland was created. The committee’s new chair, Andrew Abbess gives a report of the day and an introduction to the work the committee will be doing

At an online event on Saturday 14 November, with around 40 Cycling UK members attending, a new Cycling UK Scotland committee structure was put in place to formalise the advisory role the Scotland committee has with the UK Board of Trustees.

The new National Advisory Committee can do everything the old Scotland committee was able to do, and, in addition, is recognised by the Cycling UK Board of Trustees as a “committee to advise, inform and be a critical friend” to the UK Board. The Trustees do not have to do what the Scottish Advisory Committee says, but they do have to listen. New office bearers and committee members were also appointed.

We said farewell to Lizzie Reather, who stood down as chair - a role she has held since 2017. Thanks were given for Lizzie’s dedication and hard work, especially in managing governance issues, which has helped create such a positive outcome for the charity, and for cycling in Scotland.

I was delighted to be appointed as the new chair of the committee. A little about myself: I live in Stirling and have been a member of the Cycling UK Scotland committee for the past 12 months. I’m a cycle training professional and qualified teacher, have been a Cycling UK Right to Ride rep for over ten years, and was the CTC Scottish Volunteer of the Year in 2011. I’ve also served as chair, secretary and welfare officer of a Cycling UK affiliated club.

The full committee is as follows:

  • Andrew Abbess – chair
  • Claire Connachan – vice chair
  • Eileen Abbess – treasurer
  • Paul Timms – secretary
  • Gary Cummings

As the chair and treasurer are married (Eileen is my wife), the bank account signatories will be the treasurer and secretary to remove our ability to run off with the money!

There is the ability for the committee to co-opt up to five more members. The aim of our work is to harness local intelligence and experience, to inform the charity’s activities.

To this end we’re keen to have as diverse and inclusive a committee as possible, with people coming from a wide range of backgrounds, places, types of cycling and perspectives. We welcome applications from younger people and underrepresented groups in cycling, including ethnic minority groups.

In return for your passion, commitment and skills, we can offer you the chance to make a significant difference to cycling in Scotland and across the UK. Please take a look at the application pack if you’re interested in joining us.

The National Advisory Committee can [now] take forward the real business of creating a healthier, happier and cleaner world because more people cycle

Andrew Abbess, chair, Scotland National  Advisory Committee

After the formal business, Mike Elm gave an illustrated talk about his solo bikepacking journey to Mongolia, the New Story Ride. He shared tales of adventure and optimism from his journey, which aimed to find and share stories of people and projects that lead us out of the climate crisis. He also confirmed that you can superglue a chain together, but don’t expect it to last for very long!

Presentations were then given by Matt Mallinder, Cycling UK director of influence & engagement on the wider UK situation for Cycling UK, and from Suzanne Forup, Cycling UK head of development for Scotland for the situation in Scotland.

Do read Suzanne’s recent blog which highlights the amazing progress Cycling UK has made in Scotland over the past five years. From grant income of £200,000 and a team of four staff to grant income of £2.5m and a team of 34 – it has been a remarkable transformation.

From my view as chair, it’s a priority that the charity sustains this direction of travel. With the ‘governance question’ finally reaching a resolution, the National Advisory Committee can take forward the real business of creating a healthier, happier and cleaner world because more people cycle.

The committee wishes to thank all the outgoing committee members and everyone who attended the day. Draft minutes will soon be made available and sent to members in Scotland, however the AGM was recorded so anybody who missed it or wants to watch the highlights again, can do so.

Finally, do check that your Cycling UK pals or household members are receiving information from Cycling UK by email – like the monthly Scotland newsletter and campaign updates. If you, friends or family are not sure you’re getting emails please contact the Cycling UK membership team.

It’s really important we are able to reliably contact as many members as possible to give details of next year’s Walk Cycle Vote campaign, important government consultations like the current Road Safety Framework consultation and recruiting volunteers for the new Cycle Advocacy Network (which replaces the old Right to Ride network).