Coronavirus: information and updates

Financial support for sport and exercise

There are several ways you might be able to get financial support for sports and exercise.

Warning Make It Count

Make It Count is Scope’s new, accessible sports fundraising challenge coinciding with the Tokyo Paralympics (24 August to 5 September 2021).

Co-produced with disabled people, Make It Count is all about clocking up minutes getting active your way. That means anyone can design a challenge that’s right for them.

However you get moving, every minute counts.

Make It Count!

Finding discounted and free sports activities

National Disability Sports Organisations list free and discounted activities on their websites:

You could also search for activities where you live through:

See a list of disability sport clubs (NHS)

Check what activities your local council offers. Some councils have a disability sports development officer you can speak with.

You could also look for groups that run free activities in your area on social media or Meetup.

If you cannot find anything in your area, you could try exercising from home.

Club membership and offers

Many clubs, leisure centres and gyms offer membership where you pay a yearly fee and get discounts on activities. Some venues may have offers on classes too. For example, 10 classes for the price of 8. Or taster sessions where you can try a sport for free. There may also be an option to spread payments.

Employer schemes

You could check if your employer offers any staff benefits such as:

Grants for sport and exercise

There may be grants to help fund your sports and exercise depending on your needs and where you live. Some grants are for individuals, while others are only available to clubs or venues. Try looking for sports grants through:

You could also try:

Clubs may have equipment you can use. To fund equipment or kit for a particular activity, you could see if a local club or venue is willing to help you pay for it. Some clubs like the Rotary Club offer grants and funding to individuals too.

Finding and applying for grants

Personal budgets and direct payments

You might be able to get a personal budget or direct payments to pay for sport and exercise. For example, club and gym memberships or social groups. This is money from your local authority. It is used to pay for the support you need. Sport and exercise can be part of a:

  • support and care plan
  • educational, health and care plan (EHCP)

Support and care plan

To get a support and care plan you need to apply for a needs assessment. If you’re eligible, you will receive direct payments. You can only use this money for things that have been agreed on your support and care plan.

Managing your social care direct payment budget

Educational, health and care plans (EHCP)

To get an EHCP that includes sport and exercise, you must be: under 25 in education unable to access the physical activities that are available.

SEN support and EHCPs

The EHCP needs to include a personal budget for sport and exercise. You can only use this money for things that have been agreed on your plan. If your EHCP does not have financial support for sport, you can ask for a review.

EHCP reviews

Sport and exercise through your GP

Your GP can refer you to community schemes or projects for things like sports, cooking and healthy eating, arts activities and befriending. This is called 'social prescribing'.

What is social prescribing? (Healthy London Partnership video on YouTube)

Ask your GP what's available in your area. They may refer you to a link worker in England or a community connector in Wales who can help you think about your health and wellbeing needs.

You may need to pay for activities or sessions, but these are usually discounted.

There is also a National Exercise Referral Scheme in Wales where you can use sports facilities at discounted prices.

If your GP is not familiar with social prescribing, you could:

  • contact a disability charity to see if they know of any schemes where you live
  • ask people about their experiences of social prescribing on Scope's online community 

See social prescribing projects by health board in Wales (NHS Wales)

The National Academy for Social Prescribing

Last reviewed by Scope on: 06/07/2021

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