In 2014 BCA got a grant from the

ECF Leadership Programme 2014


The ECF Leadership Programme recognises that one of the best ways to build successful advocacy in more European countries is to invest in those small and medium sized organisations who have the most potential to become influential national leaders.

The Programme aims to support organisations through a transition – in structure, in resources or in effectiveness. It is not a long term source of finance, it is a short-term transformative change programme. It recognises that at some periods in the life of an organisation there is an opportunity for change and this can be quicker, faster and more successful with an injection of support. That means the chance to work with other people, to share ideas or just have independent friends to lean on. And in some cases a small injection of money is just what is needed to make a key change.

This programme exists because we believe in the power of cycling advocacy to change society in favour of cycling. We believe that cycling has the best chance of growth where there are national associations of cyclists and supporters who have the knowledge, skills and capacity to influence national decision-makers. It is intended that the Programme will run from 2012 to 2020.

In 2012 and 2013 we piloted the approach with 6 organisations. From the lessons learned we are ready to open a competitive application procedure to small and medium sized ECF member associations. This means in 2014 we will support up to 10 members to start collaborative work and to receive support to attend workshops and events. Within this group, some (but not all) organisations may receive additional grant funding for transformative actions.

This programme is paid for by contributions from the cycling industry to the ECF Cycling Industry Club. These companies are excited by the potential of associations who will get governments to back cycling-friendly policies which will grow levels of cycling nationally. Special thanks from ECF to the SRAM Cycling Fund who have made additional contributions to this work.

It is recognised that some of these outcomes will not be immediate but we and our sponsors believe we can establish criteria that give the best possible return for this investment. This is a

unique opportunity which we hope will excite and inspire many of our members in the coming years and prove to be a big step in our aim to double cycling in Europe.


By 2020 at least 20 national cycling bodies will have participated in the ECF Leadership Programme. They will join an existing group of larger, highly influential, effective and impactful members providing leadership for cycling in their countries.

The long term aims for these 20 associations are

  • To influence national governments through advocacy so that they demonstrate increased commitment to cycling – nationally and internationally
  • To influence investment in cycling – infrastructure, promotion, tourism at national and EU levels
  • To support new developments in cycling – for example new infrastructure, public bike schemes, E-cycles, and tourism infrastructure
  • To create capacity for cycling advocacy to influence and change policy proposals by local and national governments that could reduce cycling levels or cycling safety
  • To increase cycling as a transport, leisure, tourism, health and sporting activity
  • To unite the cycling advocacy movement, nationally and internationally

ECF will be creating a centre of excellence in the development of cycling NGOs which can be shared internationally.

ECF will be collaborating with similar NGO development programmes in other sectors and other parts of the world.


We feel that we can recognize successful cycle advocacy when we see it.

We see people, businesses or organisations who have a passion for cycling but combine it with political nous, outstanding influencing skills and the ability to build coalitions around important issues. It is not even a function of size, it is about outstanding advocacy.

Many such associations have campaigns, membership schemes, technology, infrastructure, events or promotions that add to their advocacy story and make their work sustainable.

Across the world we see a growing number of cycling associations, environmental campaigns, community groups and consortia that embody this approach, leading the cycling sector nationally and internationally. As cycling benefits so many policy areas these organisations are growing in influence and effectiveness.

In other countries the influence of cycling bodies has been weaker, for reasons from culture to geography. This puts cycling at risk. Where there is weak advocacy poor decisions get made by governments, often in a well-meaning attempt to promote safety. The cycling voice is often fragmented by too many national or local organisations without a shared vision for cycling. The majority of ECF member associations are still entirely voluntary and in many countries we do not have a professional national campaigning group to take the lead in lobbying the national governments.

This lack of professional national campaigning leads to risks at the EU level. The EU is in many ways a collection of national interests and the influences on EU policy and funding come from countries where cycling does not have strong representation. We are not effective if we do not have enough strong national voices in Europe to influence the Commissioners, the Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament. Therefore we see that our international work will be enhanced if we have stronger national advocacy for cycling.

Therefore it is important to ECF’s mission to grow the influence of our member associations. If we want to double levels of cycling in Europe by 2020 we believe we need to double the number of highly impactful and professional cyclists associations by 2020.

This programme aims to help those great organisations that are ready to become national leaders but need some additional help in their management processes or their campaigns to make that leap.

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