What is the Gateway Award?

The Gateway Award is a non-competitive activity based award which people with a learning disability, of any age or ability, can take part in

The award uses activities in areas of everyday life to help participants experience new things, develop life skills, build confidence, become more independent, improve health and wellbeing, make new friends and most importantly have fun.

Young man outside climbing a wall on an assault course.


There are three levels of the award (Bronze, Silver and Gold), made up of five different sections. These include Hobbies, Fitness, Volunteering, Lifestyle, and the Gateway Challenge.

Participants receive a certificate and a medal upon completion of each level!

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we recognise that this is a worrying time for everyone.

We understand that you may be concerned about how you will continue your Gateway Award, amongst many other things. 

Please read the following information to find out ways you can continue with your Gateway Award at this time.

If you can, it’s important to stay healthy and active during this time and continuing with your Gateway Award activities can help with this – even if you’re not attending your groups. 

Please read this PDF easy read guide to continuing your Gateway Award.

We have been working on some resources for you about different activities you may like to complete for your award. Read our PDF activity ideas booklet to see the ideas.  

A forum is also available on YourNetwork Online where you can share ideas and content with centres and individuals around the country.  

During this time we are unable to send out any resources such as folders, certificates and medals due to our office being closed and not having access to these resources. Certificates are available to download from YourNetwork Online and this may be something you wish to do until we are able to send you physical copies.  

Please get in touch by emailing gateway.award@mencap.org.uk with any questions. 

We hope you are all staying safe and keeping positive during this challenging time. 

Hear from a participant

"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

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

We've answered some FAQs below which you might find helpful. Click each question to reveal the answer beneath.

Who can take part?

People with a learning disability of any age or ability can take part in the award. People decide their own goals and activities and work at their own pace with the level of support they require

What are Gateway Award centres?

A Gateway Award centre is any organisation or setting where the award is running. Examples of award centres are schools, colleges, residential organisations, charities, youth organisations and day services. The centre is responsible for supporting participants to complete the Award.

Can we run the award in a school?

Yes! The Gateway Award works really well within a school environment and is for pupils aged 11 and upwards.

By running the award at your school you could recognise and reward student's achievements outside of education.

How do I register as a Gateway Award Centre?

To register as a Gateway Award centre, a centre enrolment form needs to be completed. It costs £50 per level.

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

This allows supporters to track the progress of each participant, network with other centres and access useful resources.

What do I need to do to enrol?

Individuals can enrol by accessing an existing Gateway Award Centre in your area.

Or, alternatively, groups of people can register as a Gateway Award centre and enrol participants this way. Enrolment forms can be requested by emailing the Gateway Award Team at gateway.award@mencap.org.uk.

How much does it cost?

The Award costs £21 per person per level of the award. 

Contact us

If you would like further information about how to get started, including where to find your local Gateway Award centre, please contact us:

Hear from a participant

"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

Do you want to be more active in your community?

Do you want more choice and control in your life?

Do you want to develop new skills, become more independent and make new friends?

If yes, then why not take part in the Gateway Award!


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