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Activity Alliance Annual Disability and Activity Survey (June 2022)

Download Annual Survey 2021-22 full research report

Our Annual Disability and Activity Survey 2021-22 reveals many disabled people feel forgotten as we recover from the pandemic. 

Now in its third year, our Annual Disability and Activity Survey continues to track disabled people’s perceptions and experience of sport and activity. Last year, we showed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people’s lives and their ability to be active. This year’s survey gives an indication of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as we recover and reinvent from the pandemic.

Activity Alliance’s annual survey complements Sport England’s Active Lives Adult Survey. It provides greater detail on issues of importance to disabled people in sport and activity.

Evidence from 2020-21 survey shows disabled people’s lives have been the hardest hit by COVID-19. Insight shows how the pandemic has not only widened existing inequalities for disabled people but created new ones too.

Key findings:

  • Less than 3 in 10 disabled people feel encouraged to return to physical activity after the pandemic.
  • The pandemic has led to the support disabled people need to be active being less available, and an increase in barriers relating to health and finances.
  • Only 4 in 10 disabled people feel they can be as active as they want, in contrast to non-disabled people who are now more likely to say they can be as active as they want (62% to 69%).
  • There is a clear sense of disconnect with how disabled people actually feel, with less than half (47%) thinking that physical activity and exercise is for ‘someone like them’. This is a significant decline from 57% in 2020 and when compared to 72% of non-disabled people believing activity is for them.
  • Disabled people are being left out as we return to activity and feeling less encouraged to be active. This is despite 8 in 10 wanting to be more so (compared to 51% of non-disabled people).
  • For those disabled people taking part in activity, they are having less positive and inclusive experiences since the pandemic. They are less likely than last year to feel activity leaders met their needs and included them and less likely than non-disabled people to say returning to activity was a positive experience (52% vs 70%).
  • There is a strong feeling among disabled people that the workforce at many levels doesn’t understand disability and that spaces still aren’t accessible.
  • 78% of disabled people say their impairment or condition stops them being active, often related to low awareness of suitable activities and fears about safety and risk.

Find the research report's summary findings and accessible formats here. 

Join the conversation on social media using #ActivityAllianceSurvey. For more information or survey queries, please email our research team.