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Everything a Sports Organisation needs to know about supporting Disabled people get active

This is an introduction to everything you need to know as a Sports Organisation looking to support Disabled people get active.

Reading Level: Medium
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Who are you?

The sports sector in the United Kingdom is broad and diverse. We’ve outlined some key examples of what we mean when we say the “sports sector”.


  • Gyms and fitness centres are another crucial part of the sector, and perhaps what most people think of when they think of getting active.

    Inclusive gyms are more welcoming and accessible environments for Disabled people. Facilities across the country have been awarded the IFI Mark accreditation. You can learn more about inclusive gyms here.

  • There are 42 Active Partnerships across England who work collaboratively with local partners to create the conditions for an active nation using the power of sport and physical activity to transform lives.

    Active Partnerships focus their efforts on inactive people and under represented groups who will benefit the most from an active lifestyle.

    A unique feature of the Active Partnerships is their independence, working across all sports, activities, providers and audiences, focused on the needs of their local communities. You can lean about local partnerships here.

  • National Disability Sport Organisations (NDSOs) exist to help people with specific impairments to engage in physical activity and sport.

    You can read more about NDSOs here.

Why do you matter?

The sport and physical activity sector is responsible for providing a range of activities to enable people to be active. If the sport sector work inclusively with their communities, they can support to increase physical activity levels for Disabled people. They can do this by delivering inclusive and accessible activities that cater to the needs of a diverse range of Disabled people.

They also play an important role in showcasing positive benefits of physical activity, be it on mental or physical health, to Disabled people and the wider community. We know that when these benefits are better understood, everyone can come together to build a more accessible environment for Disabled people to get active.

A woman sitting on a tricycle whilst another woman is helping to position the rider

Why Disabled people need to be represented

According to Sport England, Disabled people are twice as likely to be physically inactive than those without a disability. This means that Disabled people are missing out on all the wide-ranging benefits that sport and physical activity can.

Disabled people can feel excluded from sport. They cite barriers including negative attitudes, inaccessible sporting venues, and a lack of trained staff to support Disabled people that prevents them from participating. Sports venues are often inaccessible either because of a lack of local facilities in the first instance or because access for Disabled people wasn’t considered in their design.

What can you do?

A whole-system approach that includes the lived experience of Disabled people is needed. This means a staff team that is trained and confident in adapting activity, an industry that actively employs Disabled people and supports their development, and policy and processes that remove barriers and a culture that values diversity.

Co-production, a way of working where service providers and Disabled people work together to reach a collective outcome, is crucial for the sector. This different outlook could help to focus not on what the sport and physical activity sector feels Disabled people should do, but on what we want to do.

Work with us for change

  • Embedding co-production across the sports sector

    Our team is offering free co-production training in collaboration with other Disabled People’s User Led organisations (DPULOs). The training will help organisations gain confidence to co-produce with Disabled people, which will help improve opportunities and reduce barriers to physical.

    Get in touch by emailing our team.



  • Disability Rights UK – Disability Confidence training

    This disability awareness training is for organisations and is led by Disabled people which helps managers and all staff become more confident when managing and working with Disabled people in the workplace.

    You can learn more on the Disability Rights UK website.

  • Together Fund

    As as a National Partner of Sport England, we deliver grant money from the Together Fund to DPULOs and other local, community-based organisations.

    Learn more about it on the Sport England website..