Volunteers: In Focus - July 2022

Volunteers: In Focus - July 2022

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Throughout 2022 we will continue to shine a light on the brilliant work our facilitators and volunteers do for all forms of cycling.  We want to acknowledge the huge contribution made by a wide variety of volunteer roles in making cycling happen – quite simply, it wouldn’t happen without them.

If you think someone deserves a mention, get in touch on social media with your respective regional or national teams or via @BCCoaches on Twitter.

So, a huge thank you and well done from all of us here at British Cycling to all that have been nominated for June 2022 for their ongoing commitment to our sport. And a huge thank you to ALL volunteers who have supported cycling, at all levels, thorough all the challenges that have been thrown at our sport in the last couple of years.

Name: Kate Bent

Region: North West

Role: Coach, Commissaire, Club Volunteer and Treasurer

Not only is Kate a long standing coach at Border City Wheelers, she also coaches at both the youth and adult sessions of the Carlisle Cycling Association’s Club Clusters.

Fiona Graham, secretary of the Carlisle Cycling Association, said, “Not only do the kids learn a huge amount from her but so do the other coaches! She is a great role model and always gives helpful feedback and suggestions. Coaching alongside her has given others the confidence to step outside their comfort zones and take the lead in some of the youth sessions and has lead to some to some real improvements in their coaching skills.

Kate is also a Commissaire who is unfailingly committed to the race programme and she has just stepped up to take on the role of Treasurer at the Carlisle Cycling Association. She does all this this alongside looking after her own family and doing a very demanding job. I don't think a lot of people realise quite how much Cumbrian cycling owes to her and she definitely deserves a shout out!”

Name: Paul Hughes

Region: Yorkshire

Role: Club Coach, Track Cluster Coach, Event Organiser

Paul (otherwise know as ‘Wingy’!) has been supporting cycling in Yorkshire for years, across a range of disciplines and in a variety of roles including marshal, coach, and event organiser. We know from all that have worked with him that he is always enthusiastic, approachable and happy to help.  He is keen to develop his own coaching skills and knowledge and is willing to step out of his comfort zone when necessary.

Andrew Akers, British Cycling’s Clubs and Groups Developer in Yorkshire, said, “Wingy is a key member of the regional volunteer squad, involving himself across various disciplines and always bringing a touch of humour to keep things fun and enjoyable.

He is well respected by other coaches, parents and the kids he is involved with and tries to lead by example by competing in local 'cross races..... his efforts no doubt inspire others to also have a go.
Paul's passion for the sport and young rider development is clear to see from the time and effort he puts in as a volunteer. He is innovative in his approach to organising racing and coaching sessions, regularly trying new ideas and keeping his sessions fresh and inspiring”.

Name: Alia Merali

Region: Central

Role: Club Coach

Alia is a volunteer at Evolve Cycling, a club recently set up for Muslim women in North West London and now with close to 200 members. She works as its welfare officer, single-handedly writing all of the safeguarding documents for the club, as well as managing Evolve’s very impressive social media channels.

As well as this, she has been training women to take part in the club’s annual 50 mile sportive from Harrow to Windsor, leading the club’s recently established Go Ride youth coaching programmes, AND supports the local Harrow Cycle Hub.

Catherine Ruffley, British Cycling’s Clubs and Groups Developer in Central, said, “Always smiling, Alia's background in teaching is clear in her planning and the attention to detail in her sessions. She is passionate about her coaching and enthusiastic in her delivery. She puts a smile on the faces of everyone that she works with, and her passion for increasing the diversity of cycling in the local area is clear to see and is making a real difference”.

Name: Clare Leeland

Region: East Midlands

Role: Club Coach

Back in January 2022, Clare set up a women's coffee and chat for the women working hard to champion cycling in Nottingham. These online chats take place every 6 weeks, sparking up conversations around female participation, and what more can be done empower more women to take up cycling.
In February Clare kindly spoke at an International Women's Day Zoom session organised by British Cycling, communicating passionately about her club and how cycling has made her feel free and empowered. Clare has since joined the East Midland’s Diversity & Inclusion Board for East Midlands, as well as completing her Ride Leader in Nottingham.

Stacey Read, British Cycling’s Community Activator for Nottingham, said, “Clare is a delight to work with, and to see her passion for the sport and the work she does to encourage more people to give it a go is inspiring. She deserves to be noticed and praised for the volunteer work that she does.

When speaking at the women's coffee and chat meetings it is clear to see that everyone is enthused when listening to Clare. Her passion to get more people involved in the sport comes across really strongly, and she is always interested to support any way she can to help more women get in to cycling”.

Name: Dan Tzabar

Region: Eastern

Role: National Track Commissaire, Regional Commissaire, Event Organiser and Regional Board Secretary

As a National Track Commissaire, Dan volunteers all over the country, taking him to events in Newport, Manchester and Glasgow – but he also does much both to organise and commissaire regional events closer to home at Lee Valley, Welwyn and Herne Hill.

Ian Doe, British Cycling’s Cycle Sport Developer for our Eastern region, said, “Dan is very helpful and supportive, always keen to guide and aid new commissaires and event organisers. His helpfulness and willingness has, on many occasions, made the difference between an event running or being cancelled due to a shortage of officials.

A great example of this was when he took on the running of the National Youth omnium round in the region when the long term organiser had hung up his coat – without Dan, this event simple wouldn’t have run, which would have been a real loss. 

Its also great having Dan on our road and track workgroup, which has really has brought track racing. Its just great seeing a young person enthusiastically taking on roles that, in the past, we more likely to be done by older folk – he brings a really fresh and different perspective to things”.