In partnership with Sport England and The National Lottery, Mencap have launched The Round the World Challenge.

The Round the World Challenge aims to support people with a learning disability to get out and get active in a way that is flexible, fun and empowering.

How does it work?

The Round the World Challenge is all about turning hours of fun sports and physical activities into a round the world adventure.

You can take part in a variety of activities including Zumba, boccia, walking rugby and more traditional sports like football, cycling and tennis. 

Then you register the time spent on any type of exercise each week and this is then used to calculate the distance travelled around the world.

You can choose from three different routes:

  • UK route: 20 hours of activity
  • Europe route: 40 hours of activity
  • World route: 100 hours of activity

You'll receive a postcard from a different location as the number of hours of activity you do takes you further around the world.

There are also Sports Activator, Volunteering and Employment opportunities!

How to take part

Register your interest in taking part by contacting us:

We'll help you can start your journey and explain what support we can provide.

What are the benefits?

We will create ‘delivery hubs’ where organisations from local communities will meet and design the activities based upon the needs of the participants. This means that each journey and activity will be specific to the local area.

People with a learning disability can face greater challenges in getting active, including being unable to find sports centres or having low confidence following bad experiences of sport in the past.

The Round the World Challenge has been designed to be inclusive and is working in partnership with a range of local sports providers to ensure that many of the sessions will take part within existing sport centres.

As well as the health benefits of increasing physical activity, being involved in sport can help boost confidence in other areas of life, including employment, reducing loneliness and building friendships.

Volunteering opportunities – We recognise that Round the World Challenge is the start of the journey for people, and we want them to continue being active in their local communities. We will support over 500 people to access volunteering opportunities, provided by local community organisations

Sports Activator – A sports activator is short one-day programme where participants learn the skills and knowledge needed to deliver this activity to a group or individuals. We will sign-up a minimum of 500 participants to become Sports Activators, who will go back into their community and deliver activities, creating sustainable outcomes.

Employment programmes – Alongside with volunteering and Sports Activators, we will support 225 people into employment programmes. We will build on the skills the Challenge gives people: confidence, communication, team work, and transfer these into employment skills through Mencap’s and local community employment programmes.

Vijay Patel, who took part in a pilot scheme said:

“Taking part in Round The World Challenge has made me so confident and helped me get a paid job. 

"I feel so much fitter and I’ve made loads of friends.  I am now vice-captain of a 5-a-side Football team where I am one of the top goal scorers!

"Thank you to players from the National Lottery for giving us the money to help more people like me get involved.”

Get involved!

If you're interested in taking part in the Round the World Challenge please get in touch by emailing

Email us

Watch our video

Watch our video to find out more about the Round the World Challenge!

If you would like to take part, or have any questions, please email

Round the world challenge - FAQs

We've given answers to some frequently asked questions about Round the World Challenge.

Who is it for and where does it take place?

Round the World Challenge allows groups and individuals of any age and ability to take part, choosing fun, physical activities that will make up their journey.

The activities can take place within your group and within the local community. 

The sports sessions are delivered by specially trained staff and volunteers to ensure those who take part feel welcome, are encouraged to try new activities and inspired to continue being active.

What activities can be done for the challenge?

Any form of physical activity can help you complete the challenge and you can do this in a group or on your own at any time, any place.

For example, you can take part in activities like Zumba, boccia, walking rugby, or more traditional sports like football, cycling and tennis. 

What resources are available?

We have the following resources to help you on your adventure:

  • Journey pack containing the information for the challenge.
  • Maps of the three routes.
  • Passports for participants to track their journeys.
  • Postcards to act as rewards.
  • Certificate on completion.

We'll share these with you as you progress with the challenge.

How do I get involved?

Please contact us to find out how you can start your journey and what support we can provide you:

What is happening at the moment?

Round the World Challenge is a partnership between Mencap, local Mencap services and network partners, sports organisations and external disability organisations. 

The challenge is currently running in:

  • West Yorkshire
  • Rochdale
  • Oldham and Tameside 
  • Stockport
  • Oxford
  • North West London
  • West Midlands
  • Leicestershire
  • North Essex
  • Cornwall.

Take a look at the social media feed below to find out what activities participants have taken part in. And why not get involved and show us your journey using #RTWC?

See challenge highlights

Sheffield Mencap Snooker

Watch our video of Sheffield Mencap Snooker and their pilot with World Disability Billiards and Snooker.

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