Why is championing Diversity and Equality and Inclusion important in cycling?
This couldn’t be a better time to champion diversity, equality and inclusion and Cycling UK Lincolnshire is committed to embracing an opportunity to welcome everyone. The Member Group now has a new Diversity Champion Role. The impact of COVID on cycling has brought many more people into the sport, attracting a more diverse range of groups, including families, people who haven’t ridden for a long while or never even ridden a bicycle at all. Never a time has there been such a spotlight on diversity. The demographic of cycling is changing all the time. We want to continue with this momentum but at the same time, we don’t want to leave people behind. This is why this role is so important - from the policies we put in place to the people we engage with through our events and activities, Cycling UK wants to embed diversity and inclusion in everything it does. The Champion will play a significant role in helping achieve this. Yes, there is a lack of diversity in cycling in the UK, but we must not make the assumption that these groups are hard to reach - it’s the spaces that we create that should be made accessible to all. The only way we can do this is to look at how we do things and think creatively about how we can do them better. No one should feel they have to ‘fit’ into the space, rather we should all be embracing diversity and make cycling a welcoming space for all.
What do we mean when we talk about diversity?
When we talk about diversity, we should think about everyone. We all have different experiences, talents, skills and opinions. Diversity enriches our communities through shared experiences with different people. For example, in any cycling group, you will meet people from a diverse range of socio-economic backgrounds who may also have different personalities and varied levels of ability in cycling. However, there are some groups who are underrepresented within cycling based on a personal characteristic such as race, gender, disability and sexual orientation. Bias and discrimination exclude people who have specific characteristics, making it difficult for them to participate at the same level as everyone else.
In this role, it is without a doubt that some people will come and talk to you about their personal issues - for example, someone might talk to you about their mental health or someone has said something that they feel uncomfortable challenging and have come to you for advice. You are there to listen but it is not your role to provide counselling support. It is important that you set yourself some boundaries about what you can and can’t do. You can be there to listen and help signpost to the appropriate place for advice and guidance. If someone does have a grievance or feels they have been unfairly treated, Cycling UK has a Complaints Policy. It is important that you refer the individual to the policy if they feel they have a grievance to raise. You should feel confident to let the person know the limitations of the role - that it is an educational and awareness raising role, rather than providing one-to-one support.
The diversity champion is imperative for group development and education around diversity and inclusion as part of Cycling UK's commitment as an organisation to enable people from all walks of life to enjoy the benefits of cycling.
Championing diversity is an important role, particularly in encouraging people from a variety of backgrounds who are currently underrepresented, to enjoy being part of a cycling group, made to feel welcome, and inspired to immerse themselves in group activities.
This new role is open to anybody who rides with a Cycling UK group or club and our diversity champion Toolkit contains the resources you need to find out why the role is important, and how to fullfil it.
There's an optional diversity champion training module, with equality and inclusion expert Aneela McKenna, as well as Unconscious Bias with Inclusive Employers.
DIVERSITY CHAPION ROLE DIVERSITY POLICY