Changes to our volunteering language at Sustrans

Find out about how our volunteering language is changing.

What changes are happening?

We have renewed the titles of our volunteering opportunities.

Several volunteering opportunities are now together under one activity umbrella. Some of the volunteering titles that you have known so far have therefore changed.

Your volunteering tasks, activities and what you do will stay the same. We are not changing the setup of any local groups or how you have volunteered so far.


Why are the changes being made?

These changes are a part of our learning journey to improve volunteering diversity and inclusion. We want to remove unconscious bias in our volunteering language, which titles can also have.

We hope that the new volunteering titles are easier to understand and relatable to more people. We are now also using ‘volunteering’ instead of ‘volunteer’ to refer to activities. We are recognising what you are doing, and not only your role.

Being a volunteer is not simply a role that you take on. It is active engagement in your community.

These changes in language will hopefully also make it more attractive for new people to engage with volunteering with Sustrans.


Our new volunteering titles

Please see the list of new volunteering titles below.

Each link will take you to a brief explanation. The old volunteering role names the new titles are referring to are in brackets.

Once you have access to our online volunteering platform, Assemble, you will be able to see the new title and a part of the volunteering description on your personal account (PDF document).




Accessible paths volunteering

We have collected all volunteering related to barriers and signage on the National Cycle Network under the title ‘Accessible paths volunteering’.

We have moved away from using individual ‘barrier auditor’, ‘signage’ and ‘R&R’ volunteering titles.

Existing language was full of internal jargon and words that weren’t easy for everyone to understand.

This title makes it easier to understand what the volunteering is essentially about - making paths accessible for everyone.

This also links to our ‘Paths for everyone’ work on the National Cycle Network, which you all help contribute to as volunteers.

We have still made a small distinction between the different activities, so you can see what’s relevant to you.


Active community volunteering

We have several volunteering opportunities that are about getting people active in your community.

We have therefore collected them all under one title ‘Active community volunteering’.

It covers walking, wheeling, cycling and bicycle maintenance volunteering in your local communities, including at Active Travel Hubs and for the I Bike Communities project.

This title is clearer in its meaning and the purpose of the volunteering.

This also links to our ‘Liveable cities and towns’ work, which you all help contribute to as volunteers.


Active schools volunteering

We have only slightly changed our schools related volunteering titles. We are now referring to your activities as Active Schools volunteering.

We still refer to School Streets within this umbrella title.

This new title hopefully makes it clearer that volunteering is not run by the schools, nor that different kinds of direct volunteering with school children is possible.

It better reflects that activities are run to help make children and young people more active going to/from school.


Art on the Network volunteering

We have collected all volunteering related to artwork on the National Cycle Network under the title ‘Art on the Network volunteering’.

The new title makes it clearer what it relates to: everything from painting and reviewing mileposts to checking up on other local artwork.

You help us make sure that the artwork we have installed in your area is looked after.

It supports our work to make paths in your community more inclusive, as well as representative of your area, local people and surroundings.


Community area leader

We have moved away from the ‘Volunteer group coordinator’ or ‘area leader’ title to instead referring to a ‘Community area leader’.

You are a local leader in your community, who helps a group of people in getting things done.

This title reflects this, and that volunteering groups can be led in different ways and have different priorities.

Your priorities, tasks and activities will always be for the people in your area of the community.


Community connections volunteering

We have moved away from using several different titles that represent the same kind of volunteering into one: Community connections volunteering.

This replaces previous titles such as Active Travel champion, Awareness raising volunteer, Community engagement/route champion and others.

You are a connection and connector between Sustrans and your local community.

This new title reflects the many ways you are building community connections, creating awareness about active travel in your area and more, in your own way.


Creative media volunteering

We didn’t have one title to promote all our creative volunteering opportunities before.

We have therefore collected creative minds and volunteering activities under the title ‘Creative media volunteering’.

We have moved away from referring to individual titles like photographer and videographer, and combined them with social media, graphic design, communications activities, specific campaigns and more under one title.

The title explains clearly what the volunteering activities are about for easier understanding.


Paths for everyone volunteering

We have collected all volunteering related to tasks and maintenance on the National Cycle Network under the title ‘Paths for everyone volunteering’.

We have moved away from having different titles to collect this volunteering under the same title across the UK.

This new title name will link to our ‘Paths for everyone’ work on the National Cycle Network, which you all help contribute to as volunteers.

Paths for everyone volunteering is flexible, so people can help in many ways depending on their availability and interests.