East London cycling hubs to tackle inequality and empower future champions
- Credit: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
Cycling academy hubs are coming to east London to tackle inequality and empower communities to nurture the next champions of the sport.
British Cycling has teamed up with the Rapha Foundation to launch a new community-driven cycling initiative in Newham and Hackney in September, with aims to make the sport more inclusive and ensure it reflects British communities.
The project will see British Cycling City Academies pop up across both boroughs, to make cycling more accessible.
Simon Mottram, founder of the Rapha Foundation, said: “We firmly believe that cycling has the power to change lives and help make the world a better place.
"But for the true potential of pedal power to be realised, it must be accessible to all."
According to British Cycling data, around 17 per cent of UK cyclists come from diverse ethnic communities but they make up just 6pc of British Cycling membership.
Likewise, 46.3pc of UK Cyclists come from lower socio-economic communities yet 85pc of the British Cycling talent pathway is made up of riders from areas in the country’s most affluent communities.
The need for more access to sport has, according to Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey, been amplified by the pandemic.
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The survey found that in 2019/20 around 1 in 3 children did not get the recommended 30 minutes per day of physical activity.
Children and young people from lower socioeconomic and diverse background were even less likely to meet the recommendation.
Brian Facer, British Cycling chief executive, added: "By making our pathways into participation and competition more accessible we will be enabling more talented cyclists and potential champions of the future to shine, regardless of their background."
The City Academies model launching in east London are part of a two-year London pilot project meant to pave the way for a national rollout in the future.
The first phase of the pilot involves the setting up of City Academy Hubs led by locally recruited coaches.
Mentored and upskilled coaches will then run entry-level sessions in community spaces such as parks and commons.
The first of these sessions, initially aimed at children aged 10 to 14 years, will be in place by Autumn 2021.
The second phase, the City Academy Clubs and Talent Centres will help to support those who wish to progress to professional participation in cycling via the British Cycling development pathway.