Leisure Activities for Children and Young People With Spinal Muscular Atrophy

This information lists some of the many organisations that enable people with disabilities, including Spinal Muscular Atrophy, to participate in leisure activities. Although many are disability specific there is no reason why you shouldn’t also try out clubs and activities that are open to everyone.

Most of the organisations listed are national ones. You can contact them to find out about clubs or activities that are local to you.

The websites and organisations referred to are external to SMA Support UK. They are generally included because families have recommended them. SMA Support UK is unable to endorse any of the specific organisations listed. We are also not responsible for the content of websites external to SMA Support UK.

The information is correct at the time of publishing. Things can and do change, so if you find that any of this information is no longer correct or would like to recommend an activity or organisation that has not been included, please contact the information production team at SMA Support UK: office@smasupportuk.org.uk


Cinema Exhibitors’ Association Card - a national card that can be used to verify that the holder is entitled to one free ticket for a person accompanying them to the cinema. To apply for the card, you will need to meet one or more of the following criteria: be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Attendance Allowance, or be a registered blind person. The card is valid for one year from the date of issue and currently costs £6.00: www.ceacard.co.uk


Duke of Edinburgh's Award - for anyone aged 14 to 24 the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is run by more than 1,200 organisations across the UK and offers a range of activities and challenges over 3 progressive award levels. More information on how the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is accessible for young people with disabilities is available from: www.dofe.info/go/Additionalneeds/

FABB Scotland (Facilitating Access and Breaking Barriers) - a charity dedicated to inclusive clubs, holidays, annual summer programmes of activities, sailing, short breaks and adventure holidays for                                    disabled and non-disabled children living in Scotland:


Phab England and Wales - a charity dedicated to inclusive clubs, holidays, annual summer programmes of activities, sailing, and short breaks and adventure holidays for disabled and non-disabled children: www.phab.org.uk

Trailblazers - a national network of more than 400 young disabled people who work together on a national and local level to highlight and address the issues that are important to them. For more information please see: http://www.musculardystrophyuk.org/campaign-for-independent-living/trailblazers/

Whizz-Kidz - amongst many other things, Whizz-Kidz run youth groups. For more information please see:

Why Not People - a free members club for people with disabilities. Why Not People organise accessible music, comedy and dance events with world class artists: www.whynotpeople.com


Wheelchair Dance Sport Association - UK National Governing Body for wheelchair dance sport and wheelchair dancing; they can put you in touch with local groups: www.wdsauk.co.uk 

Days out

Many major attractions, organisations and schemes in the UK provide opportunities for days out. They operate schemes where either a parent or other carer or disabled person gets in free. It’s worth giving places you are thinking of visiting a call in advance as they can advise you about accessibility and documents you might need to bring to take advantage of any offers.

The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain
: www.accessibleguide.co.uk  


The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain Family Days Out
: www.accessibleguide.co.uk/familydaysout

These guides are produced in association with Motability and have over 200 ideas for great days out across the UK. They include accessibility information, including disabled parking, reviews and hints and tips written by disabled visitors. They’re both available free online. The online guide to family days out has family-friendly attractions, all visited and reviewed by disabled people and their families.

Other online guides useful for days out:

Britain is Great
- a website with a section on accessible tourism in Great Britain: www.britainisgreat.com/accessible-tourism/


The Nationwide Access Register - a nationwide register of access to buildings and services in the UK: www.directenquiries.com


Euan’s Guide - features disabled access reviews from disabled people and their friends and families. Covers tourism and entertainment venues as well as post offices, supermarkets and railway stations: www.euansguide.com

Disabled Go - provides access information for over 120,000 places of interest in the UK: www.disabledgo.com

Kids Days Out - details wheelchair access throughout Britain: www.kidsdaysout.co.uk

Sky Badger - a charity that finds help and adventure for disabled children and their families in the UK. Includes information on days out,                                           sports and activities:                        

Outdoor adventure

Avon Tyrrell - accessible outdoor activity centre in the New Forest National Park: www.avontyrrell.org.uk

Bendrigg Trust - a residential activity centre in Cumbria. They specialise in high quality courses for disabled and disadvantaged people, of any age or ability: www.bendrigg.org.uk


Calvert Trust - a wide range of accessible activities at centres in Exmoor, Kielder and the Lake District: www.calvert-trust.org.uk

To read about Calvert Trust experiences please click here and here.

Pioneer Centre - an accessible outdoor adventure centre in Shropshire. They also run three ‘Disability Adventure Weekends’ each year: www.acuk.net/pioneer-centre

For information on rambling in the UK please see:

Disabled Ramblers - a charity which organises rambles for people with mobility difficulties: www.disabledramblers.co.uk


General sports

To get involved in disability sport you can contact one of the following organisations:

Disability Sport Northern Ireland - enables people with disabilities to take part in sport and physical recreation at all levels. It currently runs a range of events, participation programmes, training courses and services, all designed to give local disabled children and adults the opportunity to lead a full and active lifestyle through sport and physical recreation: www.dsni.co.uk

Disability Sport Wales - develops sporting and physical activity opportunities for disabled children and adults. They have details of disability sport coaches throughout Wales and a community database where you can search for your nearest club by sport and disability: www.disabilitysportwales.com  

English Federation of Disability Sport - represents the sporting and physical activity interests of disabled people and organisations in England. They provide inclusion training for sports coaches, information on finding the right sport, clubs and examples of good practice: www.efds.net

Scottish Disability Sport - promotes the development of sport in Scotland for people of all ages and abilities with a physical, sensory or learning disability. It also has links to disability sailing in Scotland: www.scottishdisabilitysport.com

WheelPower - promotes equality for all people with physical disabilities around the UK by organising fun, introductory and competitive events for children and adults with disabilities. WheelPower list sports and where you can find your nearest centre to play them. They also run a number of events, including youth sport camps: www.wheelpower.org.uk

Specific sports


Boccia is a Paralympic precision ball sport related to bowls: www.bocciaengland.org.uk

For more information on one individual’s experience of Boccia please click here


British Cycling - have a section on their website about disability cycling: www.britishcycling.org.uk 



British Disabled Angling Association - provides information on accessible fishing: www.bdaa.co.uk



Aerobility - is run largely by disabled aviators, for disabled people. They give young disabled people fun introductory sessions and the chance to fly and have airfields in Wales, Scotland and England. Aerobility are regulated and approved by the Civil Aviation Authority to provide flight training: www.aerobility.com



Disability Football - a website that shares information about footballing opportunities for disabled people: www.disabilityfootball.co.uk

Wheelchair Football Association - the governing body for Powerchair Football in England. They provide information on Powerchair Football and how to get involved: www.thewfa.org.uk

Horse riding


Pony Access - make access to ponies and any terrain possible for anyone: www.ponyaccess.com  



Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) - horses and ponies provide therapy, achievement and enjoyment to people with disabilities all over the UK: www.rda.org.uk

For one individual’s experience of learning to ride a horse, please click here.



Motorsport Endeavour - involves people with a range of disabilities in motorsport events and experiences: www.motorsportendeavour.com



Disability Snowsport UK - disability ski and snowboard charity that provides information on how you can get involved: www.disabilitysnowsport.org.uk

Katie’s Ski Tracks
- a UK charity that takes disabled children skiing: www.katiesskitracks.org



Tennis Foundation - information on accessible tennis: http://www.tennisfoundation.org.uk/




Water sports / activities

Accessible Boating - accessible canal boat charity: www.accessibleboating.org.uk

CanalAbility - accessible canal boat holidays and day trips: www.canalability.org.uk

British Canoeing - provide information on how people of all abilities can get involved: www.britishcanoeing.org.uk

British Disabled Waterski and Wakeboard Association
- provide information on how to get involved: www.bdwsa.org   


Jubilee Sailing Trust
- take both able-bodied and disabled people to sea: www.jst.org.uk


- part of the Royal Yachting Association. Enable people of all abilities to participate in sailing: www.sailability.org 



Version 2.1
Author: SMA Support UK Information Production Team
First Published: July 2015
Reviewed: May 2017
Full review due: May 2018