Michael Smith is a volunteer for walking and cycling charity SUSTRANS, custodian of the National Cycle Network. Here Michael describes all the different roles he takes on as part of his volunteering work. “My roles at Sustrans are many and varied and include:
- GROUP COORDINATOR: I am responsible for managing a group of volunteers and arranging events and communicating them to my group such as inspection rides on the cycleways where we check and replace signs as necessary.Arranging workdays to maintain the cycle tracks.
- BIKE MECHANIC: I maintain Sustrans staff pool bikes and the bikes at the Rising Sun Country Park cycle hub.
- RIDE MANAGER: I arrange group rides, which involves riding the route and risk assessing it, arranging marshals, and managing the ride to make sure it is safe for participants.“I also spend one day a week in Sustrans head office where I do various tasks.
“I got involved with Sustrans when I retired because I have been a cyclist for many years and wanted to give something back for all the time I'd spent on the excellent cycle network. “The benefits of volunteering are many and include: the satisfaction of knowing I am giving something back to cycling and doing something good, socialising, and working with like-minded people. “A huge benefit of volunteering is that I look upon this role as a job but it is stress-free as I can pick and choose when I work, unlike in paid work where you have all the stresses that come with working for an employer.
“I'm not yet ready to stop work completely and volunteering is an excellent way to do this and the benefits are hugely rewarding.”