Sports & fitness

7 mins read

Contact your local authority for activities in your area. It may also have a scheme giving disabled people concessionary rates for local pools, leisure centres and sports facilities. Often this depends on getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA), but you can also ask your GP to refer you on medical grounds.

General Sports Bodies

Parasport Tel: 020 7211 5222 Email: [email protected] has contact details for all sport bodies in the UK, both national and local, which provide opportunities for people with disabilities.

English Federation of Disability Sport Tel: 0161 247 5294 Email: [email protected]
The EFDS is the national federation for all those organisations which represent disabled people in sport in England. It has a regional manager in each of the ten regions of England who co-ordinates sports provision for people with a disability in that region.

The Federation of Disability Sport Wales Tel: 0845 846 0021 Email: [email protected]

Scottish Disability Sport Tel: 0131 317 1130
Email: [email protected]

Disability Sports NI Tel: 02890 387 062 Email: [email protected]

Cerebral Palsy Sport (CP Sport) Tel: 0115 925 7027, Email: [email protected]
This organisation covers England and Wales and arranges national and regional events in various sports including athletics, boccia, swimming, tennis and many others. In addition, they can help you find sports groups in your local area that will cater for your needs.

Sportability Tel: 020 8959 0089 Email: [email protected]
Sportability is a charity dedicated to people with disabilities. They arrange year-round activities including archery, canoeing, falconry, fishing etc. They cater for people over the age of 12 and only cover England at present, being particularly active in the Midlands.

Ableize is the sports page of this online disability directory, which can help you find activities in your area. Email: [email protected]


Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB) Tel: 020 7247 8891
This organisation is a provider of sporting opportunities for people with a learning disability. Their five most popular sports are athletics, swimming, football, gymnastics and bowls, amongst a variety of other activities including winter sports. They have local branches throughout England, Scotland and Wales and accept people of any ability from age 8 upwards. Contact them for more information on activities and clubs in your local area.


British Cycling Tel: 0161 274 2021 Email: [email protected]


International Dance Teachers’ Association Tel: 01273 685 652
For all types of dance. Click on ‘Where Can I Learn to Dance?’ or phone for a list of dance schools.

Football is a directory of disability football clubs in the UK.

England: Disability football – Play & Participate | England Football


N Ireland:


Gymnastics & exercise programmes

British Gymnastics >disabilities Tel: 0845 1297129
Email: [email protected] for details of local clubs

Different Strokes, with branches around the UK, is run by younger stroke survivors for younger stroke survivors, for active self help and mutual support. Their exercise classes will welcome all HemiHelp members.

Horse Riding

Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Tel: 0845 658 1082
Email: [email protected]. This website provides a list of contact details by region (including Northern Ireland) with a list of links and telephone numbers to some of the county or local groups.

Handy Tips: Using a toggle on the rein of the affected arm to hold onto can help. The toggle is just a piece of smooth wood, much like a coat toggle, with a slit in it for the rein. This can be kept in place with the small rubber rings (for example those used with martingales).

Martial Arts

British Judo

Pilates This is the governing body for Pilates in the UK. They don’t run any classes for disabled people as such, and suggest entering your postcode in the ‘Class Finder’ section of the website and contacting your local teacher or centre.


British Swimming/Amateur Swimming Association (ASA)
Tel: 01625 440 434 Email: [email protected]
British Swimming/ASA is the English national governing body for swimming, with 1,600 affiliated swimming clubs which teach swimming and stroke improvement. To find local contact details for each region on the website, Links ► Swimming>County Associations.

Swim England

SASA (Scotland) Tel: 01786 466 520, Email: [email protected]

Swimming Wales

N Ireland contact DSNI (see above)

Halliwick Association of Swimming Therapy Email: [email protected] This is a national association with local affiliated swimming clubs and groups throughout the UK providing a specialised one-to-one programme to teach disabled people swimming and water skills.

Handy Tips: Most local pools offer either one-to-one swimming lessons or small group lessons. Also look out for the Swim 21 logo as this means the pool caters for disabled swimmers.

Snow Sports

NB You need to declare your hemiplegia when buying insurance. HemiHelp’s leaflet on holidays & travel lists companies that will insure you.

Disability Snowsport UK Tel: 01479 861272
This organisation caters for people of any age or ability who wish to practice snow sports, including skiing and snowboarding. For local groups contact them by phone or email them via the website.

The Ski 2 Freedom Foundation Tel: 0844 855 2303
The Ski 2 Freedom Foundation is non-profit making organisation launched to help people with disabilities enjoy access to all winter sports. You can download The Ski 2 Freedom Guide to Snowsport and Mountain Activities for Disability and Special Needs from their site.


The Tennis Foundation Tel: 0845 872 0522
Email: [email protected]
This is a charity that works in association with the Lawn Tennis Association, helping to develop the game. They provide information on various disability tennis programmes and can help you to find a club in your area.

Water Sports

British Disabled Water Ski Association (BDWSA)
Tel: 01784 483 664 Email: [email protected]
Click on Regions for for a list of local contact details (Scotland and England only).
Heron Lake also has a residential block for longer stays at the lake.

Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Sailability Tel: 0845 345 0403
Email: [email protected]
Sailability is a volunteer based organisation (part of a world-wide network) which covers England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Click on ‘Where’s my Nearest?’ to find details of clubs in your area.


The British Wheel of Yoga is the national governing body – go to and enter your postcode to find local teachers. There are various forms of yoga taught in the UK, some more suitable for people with hemiplegia than others. Different classes will have a different emphasis – some being more physical, some focusing more on relaxation, breath work and meditation. They suggest speaking to a teacher about their approach before you sign up for a class.

Iyengar Yoga is one of the most widely taught forms of yoga in the UK. They suggest you tick the ‘Remedial’ box when you search for a local teacher on their site, and if your hemiplegia is more severe restrict your search to teachers at the Senior Intermediate level.