Volunteers are fundamental to grassroots sport and the work by one volunteer was recognised by last year’s BBC Sports Personality of Year Award, as Yvonne Mills was named as the North West Unsung Hero for 2014.
Yvonne, who is a volunteer at Roch Valley Raiders Go-Ride Club in Heywood, received the award in recognition of the difference she has made to cycling in her local community.
Having bought her two children bikes for Christmas, Yvonne was aware a local BMX track existed that was in a bad state of repair and decided she wanted to do something about it so local people with the opportunity could ride in a safe environment. In 2009, Yvonne set about regenerating the track and established Roch Valley Raiders BMX Club and the club has gone from strength-to-strength.
Yvonne said: “I felt completely overwhelmed when it was announced that I had won the award, it’s a real honour to be recognised in this way and means a lot knowing that not only the riders, parents and fellow volunteers recognise the dedication that goes into running the club, but also British Cycling and the BBC. It’s a fantastic achievement not just for myself, but for the club and BMX as a whole, and will hopefully encourage even more young people to get involved in the sport.
“Volunteering has given me so much more confidence and self-belief, and seeing the smiles of riders at race meetings or coaching is enough reward to know that my time and efforts are appreciated. ”
As club secretary, Yvonne is responsible for everything from handling the club’s administration to producing the club’s promotional material and applying for funding. Yvonne also coordinates the recruitment and training of volunteers and provides support to the members at every level, going above and beyond the expectations of a voluntary club secretary.
Following a fantastic Women’s Tour, British Cycling is delighted to launch #WeRide week, an initiative highlighting the vast range of opportunities available to women who wish to get involved in the sport.
British Cycling’s #WeRide strategy was launched in March 2013 with the target of getting one million more women cycling regularly by 2020. A two year update published earlier this month showed that the strategy is on track with 254,000 more women now cycling, but with work still to be done to reach the one million target.
There are a number of inspirational women already out there working and taking part in the sport and we’ll be highlighting some of those case studies throughout the week.
- Caroline Foreman – Getting more women cycling more often
- Rachel Aldred – Campaigning and commuting for safer roads
- Nicky Hawker – Creating opportunities to ride and race
- Marian Lauder/Alex Russell - More women getting involved in governing the sport
- Aileen Brown – Increasing female membership
- Monica Eden – Creating a pathway that keeps women engaged
British Cycling also has a number of activities taking place during #WeRide week for any women looking to take their first steps into the sport, whether someone wants to race, coach, volunteer or get involved in race organisation - check them out here.