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Mencap and Sport England join forces to help people with a learning disability to get active in Cornwall


 • People with a learning disability are nearly twice as likely to be inactive, twice as likely to become obese, and have shorter lifespans then the general population
• Mencap and Sport England launch £1.7 million Round the World Challenge to address this -  supporting 4,000 people to get active over 3 years through 27 'participation hubs' across England
• £1million of National Lottery funding from Sport England will go towards the scheme

Mencap in partnership with Cornwall Sports Partnership launched the 'Round The World Challenge' at Penzance Leisure Centre in Penzance on Thursday 24 January 2019 with over 50 people with learning disabilities in attendance and trying out a number of different sports and activities including dance, swim, football and gym sessions.

Steve Hillman, Sports Inclusion Officer at the Cornwall Sports Partnership who was in attendance at the launch and commented: "It is great to have the Mencap Round the World Challenge here in Cornwall to compliment the offer we have for people with a disability to get active. The challenge will sit nicely alongside the counties Special Olympics programme and work of other partners including Disability Cornwall as a great way to introduce those with a disability into an active lifestyle and ensure we have a complete pathway for all people with a disability to access sport and activity at the level suitable for them."

Mencap and Sport England have joined forces in a partnership to enable people with a learning disability in England to get active. The Round the World Challenge is a £1.7 million programme with Sport England contributing £1 million of National Lottery funding. It aims to reach over 4,000 people in 27 communities across England with Cornwall being one of them.

Participation in sport and physical activity is exceptionally low for people with a learning disability - with Sport England's Active Lives data showing that 43.1% of adults with learning disabilities are inactive compared to the national average of 25.2%.

The Cornwall challenge aims to sign up over 150 inactive adults with learning disabilities through the following link


The Round the World Challenge which hopes to inspire and assist people with a learning disability to get active in a way that is flexible, fun and empowering. Participants will take part in a variety of activities including zumba, boccia, walking rugby and more traditional sports like football, cycling and tennis.  Participants then register the time spent on any type of exercise each week and this is converted into miles. This can be either 20, 40, or 100 hours depending on how far someone wants to go 'around the world'.

Sessions in Cornwall will be guided by specially trained staff and volunteers to ensure those who take part feel welcome, are encouraged to try new activities and inspired to continue being active. Further sessions are planned at Penzance Leisure Centre every Tuesday from the 29th January and a further launch will take place in the East of the county.

Often people with learning disabilities face greater challenges in getting active. For example, individuals can experience lower confidence levels due to bad previous sporting experience, or they are unable to find sport centres.  The scheme has been designed to be inclusive and is working in partnership with a range of local sports providers.

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of Sport England said: "Sport has such a powerful role to play in building confidence, overall health, employability and strengthening communities.  So, it is unacceptable that people with learning disabilities are nearly twice as likely to be inactive". Sport England is determined to play its part in reducing this gap and we believe our unique partnership with Mencap, supported by National Lottery funding, will go a long way in doing just that. We must make sport and physical activity an attractive and accessible lifestyle choice - through traveling Round the World for example - so many more people with learning disabilities can lead active lives".

Jan Tregelles, Mencap Chief Executive, said: "This unique partnership between Mencap and Sport England offers the chance for people with learning disabilities to become more engaged with other people and social activity, something Mencap strongly believes in.  Exercise is for everyone and can have positive benefits including extended social interaction.  Thank you to Sport England, the National Lottery and Garfield Weston for their generous support".

Click here to find out more about the sessions at Penzance Leisure Centre