This year has been a key year in our history with the change of trading name to Cycling UK and at a time when cycling is getting more and more popular. The name change has been contentious with everyone holding strongly held opinions one way or another. The change has meant that we can hold onto our traditional logos and names where we prefer with the new name being used to help brand communications and reach out to government, to our partners and to the public. Some groups have held on to their names and some have changed and some have done a bit of both. Of course a new brand takes some time to bed in but we have had a very positive response in the main and I feel we are starting to see the effect in some great work for the groups, campaigners and projects.
Many groups continue to thrive and grow, whilst others remain strong and stable in the face of increasing competition from other cycling groups and we have seen more diverse member club activity and types of riding. Again this is our general experience and I know in particular one of my groups has seen a decline.
We’ve provided ride leader training to all to assist in bringing more resource to groups and we are looking changes to the Policy Handbook to make it easier for groups to join Cycling UK. We’re developing and revising all our other policies and guidance to make them simpler to understand and easier to access, alongside the groups’ promotional area of the website, which should include a listing of all informal groups in the future.
Here are some of our headlines:
- · Gift Aid now eligible on memberships
- · Monthly direct debit now live- join for just £3.59 pm
- · New membership marketing materials available for groups
- · We have seen a slight decline in our numbers this year however we have recently taken the decision to invest more money into Matt Malinder’s team and we will be hoping to see that bear its fruits over the next few months. We have just commissioned and had report a review of volunteering and I may be able to share more of that soon, however, it really was exciting to see the possibilities we have that we currently do not take advantage of.
- · Over groups 1,000 ride leaders trained in last 12 months
- · Review of the insurance guidance policy handbook to look to extend the number of rides a non-member can go on to encourage eventual sign up
- · Successful Tri-vets series on which we are looking to build other events series – Challenge rides, Belles on Bikes women’s initiatives in 2017 and 2018
- · Built a new highly enthused and active professional communications team, which has enabled us to raise the profile of our charity in the media and to the cycling public.
- · Significantly improved on our ability to measure, monitor and report on the impact of our charity’s work.
- · Gathered intelligence through Vote Bike helping us to identify candidates’ views on cycling as they stood for Welsh Assembly and Police and Crime Commissioner elections, with the help of over 5,000 emails.
- · Persuaded London Mayor Sadiq Khan to adopt our proposed policy to phase out unsafe lorries on London’s roads, and convinced HS2 Ltd to call on bidders for HS2 construction work to show their commitment to safe lorries.
- · Convinced the Ministry of Justice to review road traffic offences and sentences, and particularly the distinction between “careless” and “dangerous” driving.
- · Helped Eurostar to change its mind on cycle carriage, so that you don’t have to break down and box-up your bike for travel, through over 10,000 emails, and lots of national press coverage (including top trending story on BBC online).
- · Obtained 10,000 responses to our survey of off-road cyclists’ experiences, and mobilised clear public support (over 4,000 responses to the consultation) for the Welsh Government’s plans for increased countryside access.
- · Refreshed Our Space for Cycling campaign with new guides published, and campaigners roadshows organised.
- · Transport Scotland agreed to pilot Big Bike Revival in 2016. We had an amazing launch in Stirling attended by Humza Yousaf, Scottish Government Minister for Transport and our celebrity ambassador, Michelle McManus, who has been inspired by the campaign so much she has purchased and started to use a second hand bike around Glasgow
- · Our Cycling Development staff team reached a peak of 27 people in 2016 focused on delivering The Big Bike Revival and developing our network of Community Cycle Clubs across England and Scotland. Reaching 50,000+ beneficiaries and many of them from within deprived communities.
- · We have gained an additional 3 awards this year for The Big Bike Revival to add to the list:
o Chartered Institute of Marketing – Best Third Sector Campaign
o Northern Digital Marketing Award – Best Public Sector Campaign
o Smarter Travel Award – Best Marketing Campaign
o Guardian Sustainable Business Awards – Runner Up
o Cycle Planning Awards – Best Behaviour Change Campaign
- · We are investing in our IT team and associated infrastructure to improve our web presence so that members, prospective members and beneficiaries are informed and inspired by Cycling UK to enjoy cycling
- · We have explored how we support our volunteers and created a new strategy to improve the way we recruit, train, develop and encourage volunteering to increase the impact of our charity and make volunteering with us more convenient and fun
· We have reviewed the governance structure and processes and the changes are in the process of being implemented. We have made moves to strengthen the operation of the board and to create a greater focus on the role of the Trustee. These changes should mean the board is better equipped to lead the direction and good running of the organisation and for the Trustees to hold the executive to account. One of those changes is the move to elected Trustees on a skills and experience based approach. With the growing capability to support member groups from national office we no longer require a regional representation role. I will however continue to attend East Midlands meetings where I can, firstly because I value those of you I work closely with and I appreciate knowing about what is happening in my area, albeit that is sometimes a bit of a challenge.