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Sport and leisure

Many people will continue with the leisure and sporting activities which they enjoyed before becoming disabled, sometimes by using adapted equipment. Your local library or disability organisation will be able to provide information on leisure, sports and arts facilities in your area, and may be able to put you in touch with special interest groups if required. For example, Artsline is an information and advice service on access to the arts and entertainment in London.

Participating Sports

Disability Sport England develops and coordinates sport and physical recreation opportunities for disabled people and runs ten regional offices. It can give details of organisations connected to specific sports, such as the British Disabled Powerlifters Association, the British Wheelchair Archery Association and the English National Association of Visually Handicapped Bowlers. There are very few, if any, sports which are not covered. If you are interested in a specific sport which is not catered for locally, you could try working with your local disability organisation, the regional office of Disability Sport England and the national organisation of your preferred sport to set up a local team or side.

Alternatively, you may simply wish to make use of the general sporting facilities or sports centres in your area. Contact them direct if you require access details or to find out if there are concessionary fees or special classes or facilities.

Spectating Sports

Local sports clubs and teams are generally aware of the pleasure their disabled fans get from watching them play, and are appreciative of their support.

A growing number have facilities for disabled fans allowing them, for example, to sit under cover or in a position with an unimpeded view. National stadia and other sporting venues almost all have facilities for disabled spectators and, as the Goods and Services provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act take effect, there is no reason why they should not all eventually be fully accessible.

Gentler Activities

If you are interested in arts and crafts contact sources such as art classes advertised in the local paper, adult education centres, etc, for advice on getting involved. If you require special equipment in order to continue your hobby or craft, or to start a new one, contact the organisations mentioned in the section on aids and equipment for suggestions - in particular the Disabled Living Foundation.

There are many organisations which cater for specific activities, such as the Disabled Photographer’s Society, Thrive (formerly known as Horticultural Therapy), Music and the Deaf, National Association for Drama for the Blind, and the Wheelchair Dance Association, for example.

As far as social activities go, most people will continue to attend the places they always attended, although more advance planning may be needed to ensure there are suitable parking arrangements and good access. Others may prefer to get involved with clubs and activities run by local disability organisations or the social services. PHAB (Physically Handicapped and Able Bodied) organises social activities through a network of clubs for people with and without physical disabilities.

Action for Leisure (formerly known as PLANET) is a national information resource on play and leisure for disabled people of all ages and has a number of informative publications. Play Matters/National Association of Toy and Leisure Libraries promotes play and recreation and can tell you about toy libraries in your area.


It is worth noting that local authorities have a duty under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 to help disabled people to enjoy a wide range of recreational activities.

For instance, they may help people to obtain radios or televisions, or provide lectures, games, outings and other leisure pursuits including social and youth clubs. Many local authorities operate a mobile library service which will call regularly at the homes of those who are unable to visit libraries.

Further Information

RADAR can give details on other organisations connected with specific activities.

Carers association

We are indebted to RADAR for providing the information for this section.