Cycling Ireland

Gaining insight into good practice on engaging women and girls

Cycling Ireland is the National Governing Body for the sport of cycling on the island of Ireland. Their aim is to promote cycling as an accessible and enjoyable pursuit, where every cyclist may participate and develop to their full potential.

Cycling Ireland took part in the Engage Her 2018/2019 in order to gain insight into good practice on engaging women and girls – participants, coaches and volunteers; learn from what other governing bodies have done to develop female participation; and develop their own ideas and plans.

HOW ENGAGE HER HELPED

Cycling Ireland received two one-to-one Engage Her training sessions for their committee and staff to share the project’s insight on engaging women and girls, and to support them in areas such as consultation, programming, marketing and communications.

The project supported Cycling Ireland to develop a women and girls engagement plan, which subsequently will be included in its new strategic plans, currently being developed for 2020-2030. This will ensure there is an emphasis on targeting more women and girls into the sport, not only as participants and lifelong members, but also as cycling officials, coaches and governing body tutors.

Feedback from the governing body indicates the support offered by Sported through the Engage Her Project has been “…invaluable in that it has enabled the governing body (Cycling Ulster) regionally to shape and develop a structured plan going forward on engaging more women and girls into the sport, looking at key messages and imagery around participation in the sport.”

HOW THE PROJECT WILL SHAPE FUTURE PLANS

To support their clubs and groups, the learning and plan from Engage Her will be circulated to all cycling clubs in Ulster and will be part of a bigger project for the governing body to engage more women and girls into cycling in 2019 and 2020.

Already as part of the Engage Her project, Cycling Ulster have involved their Women’s Commission in developing a new participation and training programme called WOW ‘Women on Wheels’. It will see 18 host cycling clubs across Ulster guide up to 200 beginner females through an eight week cycling specific training programme. All the clubs involved will be given training for two female members and advice on how to retain and actively encourage more females into the club’s activities. This will culminate with the 200 participants gathering to complete a cycling sportive held by Keevan Cycling Club in the orchard county of Armagh in August. This programme will increase the current female membership by almost 14%, bringing the membership in Ulster up to nearly 2,000 females by the end of 2019.

“This is a brilliant initiative that is being led by the Cycling Ulster Women’s Commission and Cycling Ireland. Increasing female participation in cycling is a major objective of Cycling Ulster and Cycling Ireland as a result of our participation in Sported Project 2018/2019 Engage Her. This project applies across the board from leisure cycling to competitive cycling and the various disciplines. 18 cycling clubs are embracing the newly developed WOW project and Cycling Ulster and Cycling Ireland are hopeful that WOW will help strengthen women’s and girls’ cycling in the province in several key areas including leisure membership, coach education and participation.”
Gary Lavery, Cycling Ireland Membership Development Officer