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Following an extensive consultation process Cycling Ireland’s Strategic Plan for the next five years has been launched. The Strategy was developed by W2 Consulting following an initial membership survey, where 2,500 people participated. From the findings in the survey consultation groups were set up nationwide, to include members, Cycling Ireland Commission officials, and other key stakeholders. The result is an ambitious and exciting plan which will see Cycling Ireland further their advocacy campaign and commercial presence, while continuing the growth in sport development and high performance.
Kieran Mulvey, chairman of the Irish Sports Council, launched the Strategy at the Awards Dinner last weekend, speaking positively about the growth of the sport and the plans that were presented. Mulvey promised the support of the Irish Sports Council in the implementation of the Strategy, and also highlighted his belief that the provision of an indoor Velodrome is an essential requirement.
According to Cycling Ireland President, Denis Toomey, this is a “Dynamic and ambitious” strategy and “If adequately resourced will place Cycling Ireland at the very top with regards to Sporting Excellence.” Cycling Ireland’s vision for the next five years will be based on four values; Leadership, Advocacy, Performance and Support, where communication will be important in providing a strong voice for the sport. The Strategy also outlines very clear ambitions. Cycling Ireland aims to become the most popular recreational activity in Ireland, along with being the most successful sport at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is also hoped that by 2019 60% of Cycling Ireland’s income will be earned from non-government sources, and it will be the recognised and respected voice promoting cycling in a safe and supportive environment.
Cycling Ireland’s CEO Geoff Liffey has seen the membership of Cycling Ireland grow from 6,000 members to 23,000 over the past five years, and is excited about the next phase of development in the strategy saying “Over the last five years we have seen considerable progress in cycling in terms of growth and popularity, the next five years will see a cycling culture embedded into the Irish community. The Strategy will see us continue to provide engagement opportunities across the vast spectrum of cycling, from the school runs and coffee spins, to world class performances.”
The key strategic pillars that will be focused on are Sports Development, High Performance, Governance, Leisure, Advocacy and Commercial. These pillars have been further broken down in the Strategy, with the strategic objectives for each outlined, along with the delivery goals. In order for many of these goals to be achieved further resourcing will be required, including regional development officers, part time coaching resources a leisure cycling resource, and for the PR and Communications Executive to become a full time role. Over the next five years the Strategy also recognises the need for a volunteer programme aimed at recognising the efforts of volunteers and ensuring continuous support for their involvement in the on-going development of cycling in Ireland.
While this is an ambitious five year strategy, given the growing popularity of the sport, and the increased focus on cycling as a lifelong activity, it outlines an exciting few years ahead which will see significant change in cycling in Ireland.
Further breaking down the strategic pillars we can see that the aim for Sports Development is to strengthen the existing structures for the development of all cycling disciplines through the implementation of the Cycling Ireland Long Term Athlete Development model, supported by enhanced club coaching systems and facility development. A further focus on High Performance will see a creation of a world class High Performance environment for athletes enabling cycling to become Ireland’s most successful World, Olympic and Paralympic sport.
Leisure cycling will see the re-establishment of the Leisure Commission, and a strategic focus on promoting cycling as a lifelong activity through the continued development of leisure membership of Cycling Ireland. Commercially it is hoped that a well-funded model will be developed to underwrite the costs of developing the sport of cycling, and securing international competitive success. Efficient and effective governance structures will be created to deliver the new ambition for all cycling disciplines in Ireland. Finally it is aimed that by 2019 Cycling Ireland will be recognised for its role in the promotion of cycling as a safe and enjoyable recreational and transport activity. This is a timely aim, considering the recent appointment of a Cycle Standard Project Development Officer, in conjunction with the Department of Transport and the RSA, who will oversee the development of a National Cycling Standard in Ireland, and develop a training programme for cycle safety in Ireland.