Make volunteering in sport more appealing for disabled people – new research finds

New research released today on International Volunteer Day (5 December) will enable providers to improve their volunteering opportunities, especially for disabled people. The report, ‘Encouraging disabled people to volunteer in sport’, explores the barriers to volunteering and the drivers that could improve its appeal.

Cerebral Palsy Sport alongside the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) and the other seven National Disability Sports Organisations and Sport England commissioned the project. It aims to understand more on volunteering in sport, as well as to improve the quality and number of opportunities for disabled people. The researchers involved almost 1,500 disabled and non-disabled people in the report and compared the differences in perception and experience of volunteering between the two audiences.

The findings guide providers on how and when disabled people volunteer generally and the extent to which they volunteer in sport. They highlight the different ways in which disabled people commonly volunteer and their interest in sports volunteering. These can help providers to encourage and support more disabled people to volunteer in sport.

One key finding explores the reason disabled people may not volunteer in sport. It shows the impact disabled people’s low participation in sport has on volunteering. Disabled people who volunteer in sport are twice as likely as non-disabled people to have taken part before. This suggests that the sport sector is not something that appeals to disabled people who have not been part of it previously. Concern about the need for volunteers to be frequently involved (at least once a week) arose in responses. Disabled people can be fearful of regular commitment due to fluctuating health problems.

Other key findings included:

  • There is a desire from disabled people to volunteer, but they are more likely to have negative experiences. Almost half (47 per cent) of disabled people currently volunteer generally compared to just over a third (34 per cent) of non-disabled people. Almost half of disabled people have had a negative experience when volunteering (48 per cent) compared to a third of non-disabled people (33 per cent).
  • Despite disabled people’s higher level of interest in volunteering in society generally, this is not reflected in their level of interest in volunteering in sport. Levels of volunteering in sport for disabled and non-disabled people are the same (21 per cent).
  • Disabled people are much more likely to recognise and experience barriers to volunteering. Their concern is in relation to the impact their impairment will have on their ability to volunteer. In addition, providers of volunteering opportunities feel that they lack the skills and ability to support disabled people fully in their volunteering roles.
  • There is often a mismatch between the expectations of providers and volunteers about what the roles entail and too often organisations give insufficient thought to the distinctive needs of volunteers as opposed to participants. This plays a significant part in creating a negative experience for disabled volunteers.
  • Providers do not routinely ask or capture whether volunteers have impairments or long-term health conditions. This means providers’ awareness of disabled volunteers and their needs is low, and they are less confident in how to support disabled people.

Barry Horne, Chief Executive of EFDS, said:

“We know that volunteers are vital in sport and active recreation. Not only do they help to boost the number of activities available, but develop leaders and role models in sport. Disabled people offer useful skills that can be extremely valuable and it is a missed opportunity not to draw from their lived experiences.

“It is clear in these findings that the knock-on effect of the low numbers of disabled people taking part in sport, is that there is less appeal in sports volunteering. We hope more providers improve their opportunities to all volunteers, but crucially work towards engaging and retaining more disabled volunteers.”

Phil Smith, Director of Sport at Sport England, said:

“The contribution of 6.7 million volunteers in sport is immense. It helps individuals get more active, it benefits local communities, and it can do wonders for the volunteers themselves. However, as this new report identifies, there’s a lot to do to make the experience more attractive to disabled people. We need to work on attracting more disabled people to volunteering in sport and activity and ensure they have a great experience when they do get involved. We hope that the whole sport and physical activity sector embraces this challenge.”

International Volunteer Day (IVD) mandated by the UN General Assembly, is held each year on 5 December. It is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organisations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work.

The report is available to download here: 

Read the executive summary here 

Use  to follow the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

 Rushcliffe 10k

New video educates schools on delivering inclusive opportunities for disabled children

To mark World Children’s Day, Monday 20th November, National Disability Sports Organisations and Youth Sport Trust have released a new video to improve the delivery of inclusive sports opportunities through the School Games. The new video highlights how schools can work together with expert partners to ensure their School Games offer is inclusive for all pupils.

Video still - girls football

It raises awareness of the National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs), who have expertise on providing high quality sport and physical activity opportunities for disabled people. Youth Sport Trust is keen to see more schools work with the NDSOs to ensure that all disabled and non-disabled pupils can take part in school sport together.

There are eight NDSOs – British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Dwarf Sports Association UK, LimbPower, Mencap Sport, Special Olympics Great Britain, UK Deaf Sport and WheelPower. Each organisation can provide advice, guidance and resources to teachers and School Games Organisers on how best to deliver sport for young people with specific impairments, and help schools to:

  • Provide meaningful competition opportunities for young disabled people
  • Raise confidence levels of school staff to deliver inclusive opportunities
  • Develop participation pathways in school sport and beyond
  • Build relationships with local clubs to encourage sustained participation

Inclusive opportunities that are inspiring, accessible and meaningful for all young people is a core principle of the School Games. The video along with the recent relaunch of the Inclusive Health Check allows teachers and School Games Organisers to measure how they are performing on inclusive delivery. By working through Inclusive Health Check across all competitions, users are encouraged to ensure that young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities have access to take part in high quality competitive opportunities.

NDSOs Youth Sport Trust and the School Games delivery network share a common goal, to see more young disabled people and those with additional needs taking part in school sport on a regular basis.

Watch the full video here:

For more information and to access great resources to support inclusive sport in your school. Visit the Inclusive Sport page on the School Games website.


Working towards better support for volunteers with a disability

Cerebral Palsy Sport is working with the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) and the other National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) to understand how to better support people with a range of disabilities to volunteer.

Revealing Reality is a research company undertaking the research and they are looking for some people speak to about their experiences or interest in volunteering.

Revealing Reality are happy to offer £25 cash / donation (to Cerebral Palsy Sport) to say thank you for your time.

If you volunteer now, either with Cerebral Palsy Sport and/or another organisation; or used to / want to volunteer and would be happy to speak to a researcher about your experiences and thoughts please get in touch!

Please email and we can send you the links to take part in the research.


Thank you!


Help us to understand the impact of benefits and finances

FlexMR have been commissioned by the Dwarf Sports Association UK, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Limb Power, Wheel Power and the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) to independently evaluate the impact of benefits and finances on the lives of people with a disability.

We want to find out if things could be improved to help people with a disability be more active and your feedback is invaluable to us.

Participation in the survey is entirely voluntary and your identity will remain anonymous unless you choose otherwise. The answers people give will only be used for the purposes of research; they will not be used to sell or market products to anyone

FlexMR complies with the Data Protection Act and as such will treat the information you give with the strictest of confidence.

If you would like to complete our online survey yourself or on behalf of a disabled person, please click the link below.

If you are unable to complete a survey online, but would like to take part in the research, please email: or call 0161 200 5441.

The link to the survey is here:

Thank you for your support!

Will Mellor motivates disabled people in Birmingham to be more active



Well known actor and campaign ambassador Will Mellor visited Villa Rockets Powerchair Football Club in Birmingham on 31st August 2016, to raise awareness of Together We Will – campaign that aims to encourage and motivate disabled people, along with their friends and family to be more active.

The Together We Will campaign looks to address the low number of disabled people who regularly take part in sport or exercise as highlighted in the most recent Sport England Active People Survey.

Eight National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) are working together with the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) to deliver the Together We Will campaign, with backing from Sport England.

In Birmingham, around 200,000 people have an impairment or long-term health condition. The city currently has low numbers of active disabled people, with only 13.5% of disabled people reportedly taking part in sport or physical activity for the recommended 30 minutes per week.

Campaign ambassador, Will Mellor hosted a football game with the Villa Rockets Powerchair Football Club at the Doug Ellis Sports Centre. Demonstrating how people with a range of impairments and of all abilities can get involved with the beautiful game. The event hopes to engage and motivate disabled people across the Midlands to get moving, whatever the activity.

The event reflects insights showing that disabled people are keen to involve family and friends when being active. Fun is also highlighted as a key motivator for disabled people to be active.

Speaking about the campaign, Will Mellor said:

“I’m proud to be part of this campaign which aims to encourage disabled people to be more active. It’s about everyone coming together to have fun and become healthier.

 “My sister had Marfan’s syndrome which affected her physically as well as with her learning. She sadly passed away in 2013, but I recall fondly how much we loved being active as a family together. Therefore, I’m really looking forward to meeting our ambassadors and hearing their stories. We can all make a positive change and support more people to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.”

Will joins local Midlands campaign ambassadors Amir Ali, coach and captain of the Villa Rockets Powerchair Football Club, and football fan Jude Liversage at the event.

Amir Ali from Birmingham, who has dystrophic dwarfism and scoliosis, is coach and captain of Villa Rockets Powerchair Football Club, established by Aston Villa FC. When he not playing in the Premiership Wheelchair Football League, Amir dedicates his spare time to supporting disabled people of ages to be more active. By providing opportunities for people to play football and enjoy other activities at the club and by running after school initiatives in the local area.

Jude, eight, who has cerebral palsy has always had a passion for sport and has been supported by his family to stay active. When Jude was four, his dad Tony sought the advice of Cerebral Palsy Sport (CP Sport) to find a local opportunity for Jude to play football. After joining a dedicated league, they set up their own Frame Football team in Staffordshire.

Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Insight of Sport England, on behalf of all the campaign partners, said:

“We know that disabled people are half as likely to be active as non-disabled people. The National Disability Sports Organisations work with the sector to provide opportunities for a range of impairment groups to address this issue and encourage inactive people to get in to sport and physical activity.

 “That’s why campaigns, like Together We Will, are so important. We need to put people and what they want and need at the very heart of everything we do. That includes supporting people to get active in places where they want to take part, in activities they want do and with people they want to be active with.

“We’re really excited about this campaign and are looking forward to working with all the National Disability Sports Organisations to help more disabled people to get active this summer.”

Together We Will campaign shares first-hand experiences from people with different impairments or health conditions, about why being active is important to them. It also brings together useful information and support from the NDSOs on how and where you can begin getting active. As research highlighted that often disabled people do not know where to go to find the right information about opportunities available to them.

These stories all share a common theme – how being active has supported them to be healthier and stronger, while having fun along the way. NDSOs and EFDS will share disabled people’s experiences of sport and exercise, so others can learn more from the information and make choices about the activities they want to try.

The campaign will run from July to September, as the nation embraces a summer of sport.

Activity organisers and providers can be involved in Together We Will.  Encourage disabled people to take part in your events and share the local support available to disabled people looking to be more active on social media using #TogetherWeWill.

Next month, Birmingham Disability Sports Forum will also host its annual Birmingham Inclusive Sports Fest (BISF) from Saturday 17th to Sunday 25th September.

Coinciding with the Paralympic Games in Rio, the festival will deliver opportunities for disabled people and their family and friends to take part in inclusive sport and physical activity taster sessions. Find out more about the Festival visit Sport Birmingham website

For more information about Together We Will and support on how you can be more active, visit the joint campaign page

Join the conversation on social media using #TogetherWeWill and share your personal stories and photos of being active this summer.





CP Sport joins national Together We Will campaign

We are proud to be part of Together We Will, a new campaign launched today to support you to be active and stay active with your friends and family.

Cerebral Palsy Sport has come together with the National Disability Sports Organisations and English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), supported by Sport England to encourage disabled people to be more active.

Together We Will aims to support you to become healthier, stronger and have fun being active.

Over the next three months we’ll be sharing stories from disabled people, about how and where they enjoy being active with friends and family. We’ll also help you to find useful information that can support you to be more active.

Remember, as well as helping us be happy and healthy, being active is a great social activity. It can help you meet people, make friends and give your sense of well-being a big boost.

For more information about the campaign click here

Take a look at the video here.


NDSO_Logo_LockUps_CP Sport