Rapha and British Cycling team up to create 'City Academies' diversity fund

This new initiative is said to be integral to British Cycling's push to make the sport more inclusive

British Cycling
(Image credit: Getty)

Rapha and British Cycling have partnered to create a diversity fund called 'British Cycling City Academies' in order to improve the gender balance, increase involvement from diverse ethnic communities and encourage greater engagement with young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

The City Academies structure is a localised concept, which is hoped will empower people to champion cycling in their own communities.

A coach within each City Academy 'Hub' will be hired and given support and training in order to put on fun and engaging sessions for the kids in their area.

The London Boroughs of Hackney and Newham will be the first hub, with two full-time coaches already hired, with sessions for 10-14 year olds starting in Autumn 2021.

This is the first phase of the project, the second being helping to support those who wish to progress to a professional level of cycling through the British Cycling development pathway.

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Rapha and British Cycling put forward data to show the need for initiatives such as this, with 17.1 per cent of cyclists coming from diverse ethnic communities but ethnically diverse populations making up just 5 oer cent of British Cycling’s membership.

46.3 per cent of all UK cyclists also come from less financially well-off socio-economic communities yet 85 per cent of the British Cycling talent pathway is made up of riders from areas in the country’s most affluent communities.

"The British Cycling City Academies project is a key part of our wider strategy to make cycling more inclusive, more diverse and more reflective of our society. Ensuring greater diversity is essential to the future of our sport and it is also the right thing to do from a societal perspective," British Cycling CEO Brian Facer said.

“We also believe that the City Academies can be real beacons within their communities, and that once the first cyclists start to come through into our development pathways it will soon create a virtuous circle and a positive legacy for the future.”

"As a brand with British roots, we’re proud to be able to support organisations here on home soil, which is why we are incredibly excited to be working with British Cycling through the Rapha Foundation, an organisation with a shared mission to better the sport and improve access and support for the next generation of racers," added Rapha founder Simon Mottram.

"The City Academies concept represents a fresh new way of nurturing new cycling talent, who represent the future of British cycling. An initiative we are very proud to be a part of."

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.