Get yourself active blog

Thousands of disabled people to access sport for the first time

Friday 23rd August 2019

Thousands of people with complex disabilities to access sport for the first time, as national charity Sense is awarded £1.3 million by Sport England

It follows research by Sport England showing that one in two people with complex disabilities get less than thirty minutes exercise each week, affecting their physical and mental wellbeing.

22 August 2019 – People with complex disabilities in England will have a greater opportunity to participate in sport and physical activity thanks to major new funding announced today.

The national disability charity, Sense, has been awarded £1,338,449 by Sport England to tackle the issue of ‘inactivity’ amongst people with complex disabilities, which has a detrimental effect on physical health and mental wellbeing.

According to research* carried out by Sport England, inactivity (less than thirty minutes exercise a week) is more common for disabled people (42%) than non-disabled people (21%). Furthermore, it increases sharply as the number of impairments an individual has increases – 51% of people with complex disabilities are inactive.

Today’s funding, from Sport England through the National Lottery, will enable Sense to expand its programme of sports provision, working with local partners** to run accessible sport sessions in London and the South East, the West Midlands, the East,  South West and Yorkshire . The sessions will support more than two and half thousand people with high-level support needs, aged from 5 to 50+, to access sport and physical activity over the next three years.

Sense National Sports Manager, Alissa Ayling, said:

“Over half of all people with complex disabilities miss out on participating in sport and physical exercise, which is vital for keeping healthy, learning new skills and making new friends.

Today’s funding will enable us to create lifelong opportunities for people with complex disabilities to be active by establishing meaningful, engaging, and local opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity.”

Sport England Strategic Lead Disability, Adam Blaze, said:

“We are delighted to announce today’s investment into Sense, continuing their excellent work supporting people with complex disabilities to enjoy the benefits that increased physical activity brings, such as improvements to mental wellbeing and social connectedness.

We know from our Active Lives research that inactivity levels are unacceptably high for people with multiple impairments. This investment, in addition to creating opportunities through direct delivery with the expansion of Sense’s existing programme of delivery, will upskill the workforce and influence the sports and physical activity sector to be more inclusive for people with multiple and complex disabilities.”

John France, 58, from Rotherham, has cerebral palsy and a learning disability.  He recently started attending sport sessions in his local area, run by Sense.

John said:

“Making friends and seeing people gives me confidence.

Sport sessions allow me to do that and it’s great.”

In addition to new regional sport sessions, Sense will influence and equip the sports, health and social care sectors so that mainstream settings and sessions become more accessible for disabled people. Sense is partnering with Disability Rights UK in adapting physical activity guidelines for support staff, and will gather insight to help evaluate the benefits of sport and physical activity for people with complex disabilities

To find out more about Sense, and its programme to increase the range of sport and physical activities available to people with complex disabilities, visit:

*Sport England ‘Active Lives’ Report based on the response of 179,747 adults:

**Working with partner organisations, Sense has supported over two thousand people to participate in sport and physical activity, since 2016. The majority of participants had never taken part in sport at any level. Today’s funding will expand the work ensuring that people with complex disabilities are able to lead an active and healthy life.

In other news: We want to learn about the current opportunities and challenges facing Disabled People’s Organisations

We want to learn about the current opportunities and challenges faced by local Disabled People’s Organisations

Friday 16 August 2019

Disability Rights UK is keen to understand more about the current opportunities and challenges faced by local Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs).

We’d like to know, for example, what could be done to improve communication from grassroots up and how DR UK can better support local organisations.

We’ve created a short survey to help us gather your views and suggestions, which can can be accessed at The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete and we would appreciate any feedback from user-led organisations to help us plan and provide future services and partnerships.

In other news: “Getting fit again has helped me get back part of what makes me who I am, and it’s had unexpected benefits”

SHOUTaboutSEND 5k run in Derby

Tuesday 13th August 2019

Students from two special teaching schools in Derby are staging the SHOUTaboutSEND 5k in October.

The schools have some incredibly talented young people who have great sporting ability but due to their learning disabilities and complex needs they receive very few opportunities to participate and compete in sporting events. The schools are working hard with clubs across their locality and region to support them in becoming more inclusive and the event will showcase the talents of their students and hopefully challenge perceptions and stereotypes. 

Students from the schools are running the event (marketing, logistics, catering etc) as part of their employability curriculum.

They are hoping that the SHOUTaboutSEND can be a catalyst to engage young people / adults with additional needs in local sporting opportunities. A number of clubs are working with us to become more inclusive and will be present on the day to share information with young people and their families.

Download the SHOUTaboutSEND Flyer 

Follow @SHOUTaboutSEND on Twitter for more details.

In other news: “Getting fit again has helped me get back part of what makes me who I am, and it’s had unexpected benefits”