Ability not Disability

In August 2018, CFN conducted market research around physical activity and provision for potential participants who also had Special Education Needs and Disabilities. This was designed to gain data to assess the barriers that these people face. In addition to this, we also conducted market research with group fitness instructors and coaches to understand reasons for the lack of inclusivity in the industry.


Results showed that a barrier identified from both sides were:

  • Participants/Parents/Carers didn't think that an instructor understood what was needed to teach SEN/ALN

  • Instructors didn't feel confident to teach those with SEND and were worried they might do something wrong.


Community Fitness Network began to structure a project which was submitted to Sport England as a pilot for a small grant. Ability Not Disability saw 20 instructors go through an intense training course over a two day period to be educated around fitness and additional needs. Those instructor then were supported to reach out in to their communities to provide sessions for people with SEND


Covid-19 closed down much of the Country in March 2020 and with that went many service provision for people who need additional support. Their regular activities were postponed and due to the ongoing situation are yet to return.


Community Fitness Network have adapted their original, successful pilot to create both a virtual offering and increase the amount of instructors insured and confident to deliver in this setting to those with SEND.

The Project is made up of a number of parts:


  • Increased training - 50 instructors will be trained in fitness for SEND

  • Each instructor will be given access to a bespoke online platform featuring 18 months of class content and lesson plans specifically created to deliver to adults and children with SEND.

  • Each instructor trained will provide original content which will be used to create a YouTube channel. This will be distributed through a number of networks to be able to reach children and adults at home with SEND to support their lack of services and help them remain active.

Young down syndrome fitness woman traini

The YouTube Channel