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Mapping disability

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 (43%), compared with those without (23%). Furthermore, it increases sharply the more impairments an individual has – 51% 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.

Young girl in wheelchair receiving ball

Know your audience

Read the latest research on disability and physical activity.

Disability research

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.

Man running on pitch playing hockey

Examples of our work so far

  • Disability Rights UK and University of Durham

    We’re working jointly with the University of Durham and Disability Rights UK on a programme of work called Moving Social Care, to upskill social workers to support disabled people with physical activity.

    We’ve been undertaking research to get to the stage where the pilot content is being formed, and we’ve now shared resources and related infographics about the programme, as well as information about the advisory group, on the Get Yourself Active website.

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  • 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.

    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.

    Click here to read more about the campaign, or visit for more information.

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  • 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.

    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.

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  • Aspire

    Aspire is a national charity that gives practical help to people who've been paralysed by spinal cord injury.

    We've invested over £1.2 million into their InstructAbility programme, which has increased the number of disabled people working in sport and fitness.

    Created by Aspire, following on from what InstructAbility has achieved over years of work, we're now supporting their EmployAbility Leisure guides - for disabled people, training providers and employers.

    These guides are an evidence based resource to create more accessible and inclusive training and workplaces for disabled people in the leisure sector.

    Evidence for them has been gathered from the leisure sector, but the guidance is also relevant to diversifying the workforce in other sport and physical activity settings.  

    EmployAbility Leisure's strategic partners include Sport England, Activity Alliance, CIMSPA, Community Leisure UK, ukactive and UKCoaching, as well as a team of disabled people and researchers. 

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  • Sense

    Sense is a national disability charity that supports people with complex communication needs to be understood, connected and valued.

    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.

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  • 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.

    The mixed ability model promotes social inclusion through education and by encouraging players of all abilities to be equal members of mainstream sports clubs.

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  • RNIB and British Blind Sport

    In May of 2021 we launched a partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People and British Blind Sport.

    We've invested £1 million the See Sport Differently programme, which will help develop grassroots participation opportunities for blind and partially sighted people, to play sport regularly.

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  • Cycling Projects

    As part of our coronavirus sector renewal fund, we're supporting organisations to provide more inclusive opportunities too disabled people - as part of this, we've invested more than £162,000 in Cycling Projects.

    This money will support the recovery of their centres to be ready to reconnect with disabled people in their communities, as well as the development of a bike buddy package to support independent cycling opportunities.

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