We know that almost one in five people in England have a long-standing limiting disability or illness, and that compared to other groups, disabled people are much less likely to take part in sport or physical activity.
Data from our latest Active Lives Adult Survey shows that disabled people or those born with a long-term health condition are twice as likely to be physically inactive (41%), compared with those without (20%). Furthermore, it increases sharply the more impairments an individual has – 49% of those with three or more impairments are inactive.
To better understand this population group, and to support people who work in the sport and activity sector to reach and engage disabled people, we’ve created a suite of resources – Mapping Disability.
These are designed to aid a variety of organisations, helping us all plan effective programmes by better knowing the audience.
Know your audience
Read the latest research on disability and physical activity.
Who we work with
From focusing on social inclusion through education to supporting people with complex communication needs, we're working with a range of partners to help more disabled people get active.
We believe a collaborative approach will help get more disabled people active, which is why we’re always interested in developing new partnerships with organisations who know and understand the specific audiences we want to target. This includes partners who we’ve traditionally not worked with, such as small or new organisations.
By ensuring investments are research and evidence-based, we can help deliver more opportunities for disabled people to get involved with sport and physical activity.
One of the key partners we work with to help us do this is Activity Alliance, a membership organisation working to make active lives possible.
The Alliance work in partnership with us by providing research about disabled people and sport, as well as establishing and developing disability networks. It also supports organisations with marketing and communications.
Examples of our work so far
We Are Undefeatable
We Are Undefeatable is a national campaign to support the 15 million people who live with one or more long-term health conditions in England to build physical activity into their lives.Read more
The campaign is led by a collaboration of 15 leading health and social care charities and benefits from our expertise and insight, along with National Lottery funding.
Disability Rights UK
Disability Rights UK is a user-led organisation that carries out a broad range of work (including researching, campaigning and the delivery of projects and programmes) to create a society where everyone can take part equally. We've invested over £1 million in its Get Yourself Active programme, which sees local partners work with the health, social care and sports sector to develop better opportunities for disabled people to get active.Read more
We've invested more than £1 million in their Get Yourself Active programme that gets local partners to work with the health, social care and sports sector to develop better opportunities for disabled people to get active.
Aspire is a national charity that gives practical help to people who've been paralysed by spinal cord injury.Read more
We've invested over £1.2 million into their InstructAbility programme, which has increased the number of disabled people working in sport and fitness.
Sense is a national disability charity that supports people with complex communication needs to be understood, connected and valued.Read more
With our £425,000 investment, they’ve been delivering Sense Sport. The programme has increased the number of people with multiple sensory impairments engaged in sport and physical activity by creating more opportunities to get active.
International Mixed Ability Sports
Since 2016, we've invested £162,000 into International Mixed Ability Sports to expand the delivery of the mixed ability model into new sports and new areas of the country.Read more
The mixed ability model promotes social inclusion through education and by encouraging players of all abilities to be equal members of mainstream sports clubs.