What is the Gateway Award?

The Gateway Award is an activity based award for people of all ages and ability.

Take a look at what people think about the Gateway Award

The Gateway Award is all about experiencing new things, gaining confidence, improving health and wellbeing, meeting new people and having fun.

Watch our video to hear what people think.

The Gateway Award lets you choose what you do and when you do it

People taking part in the award set their own challenges to achieve personal goals and progress to complete the award at their own pace.

Young man outside climbing a wall on an assault course.

How to complete the Gateway Award

There are three levels to the award; Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each level has five different sections to complete:

  • Hobbies
  • Fitness
  • Volunteering
  • Lifestyle
  • The Gateway Challenge

Participants receive a certificate and a medal when they complete each level.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ's)

Who can take part in the Gateway Award?

The Gateway Award is for anybody with a learning disability .

There is no age limit and it is open to people of all abilities. This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

Activities can be tailored to an individual's needs making this a truly person centred award.

Where can you do the Gateway Award?

People enrol for the award at a Gateway Award Centre.

These centres are responsible for supporting people to complete the award.

A Gateway Award Centre can be in any number of settings including local Mencap groups, leisure groups, schools, colleges, residential or day services , and youth organisations.

For people who are not able to access a centre, it is possible to sign up as an individual to complete the award.

What activities can you do as part of the Gateway Award?

A diverse range of activities can be undertaken for each section of the Gateway Award.

We have an ideas booklet that can help people come up with ideas for different activities.

Activities can be completed at the award centre or in the participants own time.

They can be completed in any order and done simultaneously.

Some example activities for the Gateway Award include:

  • Hobbies: Participants select a hobby from one of three sections: arts and crafts, collections or recreation (Eg; a participant may take part in painting classes over three months developing painting skills either in their own time or as a group in a leisure or learning environment.
  • Fitness: Participants select new fitness activities (Eg; taking part in Zumba classes, swimming, table tennis, football and yoga etc)
  • Volunteering: Participants choose a volunteering activity to benefit their community , (Eg; volunteering at a leisure club, running a recycling project, doing gardening for a neighbour or volunteering at a local charity shop)
  • Lifestyle: Participants choose new lifestyle topics to learn about (Eg; first aid, money, independence or healthy eating)
  • Gateway Challenge: Participants identify a challenge and an activity, or project to explore. It can be a personal or a group challenge (Eg; a personal challenge may be to plan a trip to a local museum, the planning would include looking into travel to the museum, budgeting for the visit, researching information on the museum and then the challenge would be visiting the museum)

How long does the Gateway Award take?

Participants taking part in the challenge progress at their own pace. However, there are guidelines for how long each award level should take to ensure that participants have the opportunity to meaningfully engage and plan their activities.

Overall timeframes:

  • Bronze level should take a minimum of 6 months
  • Silver level should take a minimum of 12 months
  • Gold level should take a minimum of 18 months

The timescales above are shown in months but participants need to commit to an average of one hour per week.

For more information please email gateway.award@mencap.org.uk and ask for the Bronze, Silver and Gold level overviews.

What level of support is needed for the Gateway Award?

The level of support needed will vary for each individual.

In most cases, participants may need some form of support to plan and attend their activities.

An assigned supporter can work with the participant to plan their award and record their evidence.

Some participants may require a supporter to complete the online monitoring and tracking of the award.

How does an organisation register as a Gateway Award Centre?

To register, a 'Centre enrolment form' needs to be completed and sent to Mencap with the centre fee.

After registering as a centre, you will be given a login and a dedicated page on the Gateway Award website .

This access allows supporters to register their participants, track progress, upload evidence, network with other centres, and access useful resources.

If you would like a 'Centre enrolment form' to register as a Gateway Award Centre please email gateway.award@mencap.org.uk

I work at a school/college, can we register as a Gateway Award Centre?

Any school or college can register as a Gateway Award Centre.

Schools and colleges that run the Gateway Award can use activities that are already a part of the curriculum towards students completing the difference sections.

To register email gateway.award@mencap.org.uk

How is the award assessed?

When participants register for the Gateway Award they are given a bespoke folder split into five sections where they can store evidence of what they have done.

As they progress, participants will need to collect evidence of their activities. A variety of items can be used as evidence (Eg; photos, quotes, leaflets and other objects)

Participants will need to complete an 'Outcome questionnaire*' when they register to do their award and when they complete each level.

For each section, a 'Section sign off form*' and one piece of evidence will need to be uploaded onto the participant's profile on the Gateway Award website. This will need to be signed off by the Gateway Award supporter to verify that the section is complete.

When all five sections are complete, an 'End of level form*' will need to be filled in. Once this is done, you will need to let Mencap know and we will send out the award certificates and medal.


*All forms can be found on the participant's own profile page on the Gateway Award website and are to be completed online.

What is the Gateway Award website?

A website has been set up where Gateway Award Centres can:

  • have their own profile
  • register participants
  • track progress
  • sign off completions

The system allows effective management by the Gateway Award Centre, and it is also viewed by Mencap so we can see the progress that is being made and support you to administer the award.

The website provides an easy way to view the status and progress of your participants, and keep track.

It minimises paper and printing costs, as much of it can be done online.

The system allows Mencap to view the content of the forms so you do not need to separately send us completed forms and other paperwork.

Mencap have a separate user guide that we send out to Gateway Award Centres once they have registered, which helps navigate the website.

How much does it cost to do the Gateway Award?

The cost to register as a Gateway Award Centre is £50.

The cost of a place for each participant is £21 per level.

This cost includes:

  • A colour printed folder with section dividers
  • Section and end level certificates and end of level medal
  • Moderation and processing by Mencap, and an online Gateway Award profile
  • Online resources and a Gateway Award handbook
  • Postage and packing of all materials listed above.

Reviews about the Gateway Award

"The Gateway Award has given our students the opportunity to participate in new work experiences and new adventures, and to feel a sense of pride in all that they have achieved."

- Ian Challis, Lexden Spring School


"My life has changed because I signed up to do the Gateway Award. I have a volunteer placement in a café, and have completed an English, Maths and computer course. I now have reasons to get up in the morning and lots of things to talk about with my family. I feel happy now and part of something:

Mark from Wirral Mencap

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Need more information about the Gateway Award?

If you would like to find out more, please phone 0207 696 6960 or register your interest today.

Register your interest
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