Hopefully, most readers of this blog should be aware that I am the new co-ordinator for the Leicester Group. I am hoping to be in touch with all of the rangers soon to try and decide on meeting venues and arrange work-parties etc.
In the meantime, here are a couple of recent events that I would like to feed back about:
Stall at the Greenlight Festival
On Saturday 16th March we ran a successful stall at the Greenlight Festival. This festival is now annual and celebrates sustainable living in Leicester.
Despite generally poor weather, the organisers estimate that there were about 900 people through the doors and many of them stopped at the Sustrans stall. We chatted about the National Cycle Network, Sustrans aims and cycling in general. We gave away heaps of leaflets, badges and maps and several people expressed interest in volunteering with us.
I feel that there is real value in having stalls at events such as this where we can obtain feedback from the public and can promote the aims of Sustrans. I certainly enjoy sharing my passion for cycling and the work of Sustrans with a wider audience. It is surprising how many people still do not know about who we are and what we do. More publicity will, I hope, help to remedy this. I'm hoping to organise more such stalls over the coming year (in addition to our important presence at Leicester Skyride). Anyone interested in helping organise or run a stall, or who has ideas for a suitable venue, please get in touch.
Lastly, huge thanks to Richard, Keith, Judith and Peter (and a guest appearance from Rory!) for giving up their time to help on the stall.
Looking forward to more successful events in future.
Group Coordinators Conference
This took place last weekend in the fair city of York (I was careful not to mention Richard III!) and was a great success. In addition to a led ride, we had a talk from Peter Litman (Head of Strategy and Innovation). I was very pleased that he emphasised the environmental impact of our work and discussed how a serious long term aim of Sustrans should be to reduce (and eliminate?) car use. He told us that, according to Ministry of Health research, children raised in London will
NEVER have full lung capacity, due to air pollution.
According to Peter and Tony Ambrose (National volunteer coordinator), Sustrans is now taking the recruitment and support of volunteers more seriously than perhaps it did in the past. The website, and volnet in particular, have been greatly improved recently and are well worth checking out. We are able to share our photos directly with the country by using Flickr, which is connected to volnet. I am hoping to use the new volnet to recruit more volunteers for the group.
On a practical note, Sustrans is putting on more training for ride leaders. Now only certified ride leaders will be able to lead any ride that is part of Sustrans. In addition to Sustrans own training, British Cycling/Skyride and CTC certificates are also permitted but no others. Anyone interested in undertaking free, full-day ride leader training, please contact me and I'll pass your name on. The next Sustrans training day is in Derby on 16th May.
For me, the most useful aspect of the conference was meeting with other Midlands group coordinators as well as with Ian Keetley, the new east Midlands volunteer coordinator. Ian is trying to visit local volunteer groups and would like to come to Leicester soon. I found him very approachable and I'm sure that he will do his best to support and network with the group and I look forward to further work together.
That is all for now but please do get in touch with any ideas for how the Leicester Rangers can be further supported.