To mark Volunteers’ Week 2017, some of Britain’s most successful cyclists have today praised the sport’s volunteers, after it was revealed that they collectively contribute an estimated 3.5 million hours to cycling per year.
There are currently more than 25,000 people registered in official British Cycling volunteer roles – a broad scope of vital positions across the sport including commissaires, event organisers, ride leaders, coaches and club welfare officers.
According to the UK Civil Society, regular volunteers contribute an average of 11.6 hours per month. This would mean that British Cycling’s registered volunteers give a total of 3,507,283 hours every year. The figure does not include the thousands of volunteers working in unofficial roles such as sign-on stewards and tea servers at British Cycling events, all of whom are invaluable to the ongoing success of the sport.
Britain’s most successful ever female Olympian, Laura Kenny, said: “Volunteers are the backbone of our sport and it is amazing that the time they contribute to cycling amounts to at least 3.5 million hours.
“Without them, we wouldn’t have opportunities to race and without those opportunities we wouldn’t be able to perform as well on the world stage. It could even be said that without them I wouldn’t have won my Olympic gold medals!”
Olympic gold medallist and British Cycling’s policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said: “Volunteering in cycling isn’t just about providing practical and logistical support at the thousands of cycling events that take place each year; it’s also about emotional support and inspiration.
“Volunteers can make a big difference to people’s experiences of the sport and whether or not they choose to continue cycling. That’s why they’re so vital to the sport’s success and we want to thank each and every one of them.”
Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the contribution that millions of volunteers make across the UK. Over 21 million people volunteer in the UK at least once a year, and their contribution adds an estimated £23.9bn to the nation’s economy.
At a recreational level alone, the number of volunteer ride leaders supporting HSBC UK Breeze, HSBC UK Guided Rides and HSBC UK Ride Social is more than 3,200 and still growing. British Cycling offers free Ride Leadership Award Level training to all levels of cyclists in partnership with local authorities across the UK. To become a ride leader and help get more people cycling for fun in Britain, visit www.letsride.co.uk.
Giles Morgan, global head of sponsorship at HSBC, commented: “The sheer scale of volunteering that takes place across British Cycling events – the equivalent of 400 years’ worth of time given up every year – is absolutely phenomenal.
“Our partnership with British Cycling is very much focused on grassroots cycling, and the hard work that volunteers put in really do keep the wheels moving on the cycling movement, helping those who are already taking part, and making those who are new joiners feel extremely welcome and safe.”