A Yorkshire healthcare charity will become the first ever fundraising partner of the UCI Road World Championships when it comes to Yorkshire next year in an exciting partnership negotiated by The Sports Consultancy, the UCI’s exclusive rights marketing agency for the UCI Road World Championships, Yorkshire, and Banana Kick, a leading marketing agency working on behalf of Leeds Cares.

Leeds Cares – the charity that works to improve healthcare services for people living in Yorkshire – will be the Official Fundraising Partner for the eight-day global sporting event which attracts some of the biggest names in cycling.

Leeds General Infirmary-born cycling star, Lizzie Deignan, is backing the charity and will become an ambassador for Leeds Cares.

400 places in the official sportive of the Championships – including 70 reserved for NHS staff – have also been guaranteed for people raising money for Leeds Cares, with every penny going directly to the charity.

It’s all part of Leeds Cares’ drive to raise much-needed extra funding which will go towards new projects with the NHS to help people from Yorkshire to lead healthier and more active lives. Leeds Cares’ existing projects have shown the importance of sport in the recovery process and how it can improve not only someone’s health but their confidence and social life.

David Welch, Leeds Cares CEO, said: “We might be based in Leeds, but we are very much here for the people of Yorkshire. Our work sees us support patients from across our great county and this partnership with the UCI gives us an unrivalled opportunity to raise money and awareness of what we do day in, day out. The sportive is a great way of bike-lovers doing something amazing and raising money that will go directly to supporting patients.

“At Leeds Cares we try to do things differently. We bring individuals, companies, families and whole communities together to raise money, bring about change and improve health services in their area. We believe that when people work together, amazing things can happen – and Yorkshire securing these Championships is a great example of just that.”

Lizzie Deignan, a former UCI World Champion and Olympic medallist, said: “I was born in the LGI and everyone knows I’m proud a proud Yorkshire woman, so becoming an ambassador for Leeds Cares and particularly their association with the UCI World Championships in Yorkshire next year is the perfect fit. I recently had the benefit of NHS maternity care so am only too aware of its value and why it’s important to do whatever we can to improve the service further and not stand still.

“Leeds Cares new projects with the NHS to get people back into exercise are brilliant and whether it’s someone who’s returning to sport or wants to become more active after a period of illness, it doesn’t matter. Sport at any level has an incredible power to help improve the health of body and mind with proven long-term benefits. That’s also why it’s perfect that people can raise money for Leeds Cares by taking part in the official sportive. I can’t wait for what will be an amazing festival of cycling in the best county!”

UCI President David Lappartient said: “The eyes of the world will be on the county of Yorkshire. The stage is set for another momentous event in cycling history which will bring the very best talent to race on the roads of Yorkshire. This partnership with Leeds Cares is an opportunity to harness the power of sport and bring communities together to leave a lasting and positive effect for healthcare for the Yorkshire public.”

The eight-day event will see some of the world’s best cyclists travel to Yorkshire for a series of men’s and women’s races, across age groups from Junior to Elite. Every day will see a start in different towns and cities throughout Yorkshire, with each finishing in the main competition town of Harrogate.

The sportive offers amateur and club riders the chance to ride parts of the same course as the Elite cyclists. Heavily oversubscribed in recent years at the Tour de Yorkshire, it attracts applications from all over the world.

To find out more and sign up to the sportive see www.leeds-cares.org/UCI