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.

Staying active during the coronavirus lockdown

Although keeping active is a challenge during lockdown, the government is recommending people who are able to, to do so.

This is possible either through taking part in fitness activities at home or going outside for a walk.  

To help support you Mencap has launched their own online TV channel, called Mencap TV. The channel has different themes each day of the week, with Monday being Move with Mencap.

This has short videos which you can follow at home to stay active. Watch Mencap TV on YouTube here.

Resources for keeping active

Keeping active with Mencap

We have created this guide with support, ideas and links on how to stay active during the lockdown (created on 1 May 2020).

Stay In Work Out from Sport England

Sport England, have recently launched a new initiative called Stay In Work Out. This is to help support people to stay active by giving ideas of activities to do at home.

There are videos to follow which you can do at home, and there are ideas of how to stay actives whilst being outside.

Joining Round the World Challenge during the coronavirus outbreak

You can still join up and start your Round the World Challenge during the current coronavirus outbreak.

If you are staying physically active during the lockdown, either by going for a walk or exercising at home, you can use this activity to count towards your hours and route!

To sign up and start your challenge go to the Round the World Challenge portal and register your interest.

The portal has been accessibly designed to enable people with a learning disability to use it and log their activity hours. When signing up you will receive a user guide and Mencap are able to provide extra support were needed. 

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 in sport or physical activity, and track numbers of hours of staying active. 

The activities can take place on your own, in a group and in the local community. 

What activities can be done for the challenge?

Any form of sport or physical activity can help you complete the challenge and you can do this in a group or on your own at your own pace.

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

During lockdown due to coronavirus, we suggest activities such as walking, cycling, following fitness videos or doing yoga at home.

How do I log my activity?

Mencap has developed a Round the World Challenge portal where you can track all the activity you do.

The portal is free to use and calculates your progress, giving you a map of where you are on your journey.

You can also complete questionnaires on the portal, download postcards and certificates and log volunteering hours.

The portal has been designed so that people with a learning disability can log their own hours, all you need is an email address. The Round the World Challenge team will support you to get all set up and continue to offer support during your challenge.

If you would like to sign up then please visit the Round the World Challenge portal now

What resources are available?

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

  • passports for participants to track their journeys (physical copies will be sent to you)
  • maps of the three routes (physical copies will be sent to you)
  • postcards to act as rewards (available online through the portal)
  • certificate on completion (available online through the portal)
  • t-shirt with Round the World Challenge branding (sent to you)

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

We will do our best to get the resources out as soon as possible, but due to current coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, these may take longer than normal to get to you.

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:

  • North Yorkshire
  • Merseyside
  • Lancashire
  • Leicestershire
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Coventry and Warwickshire
  • South Essex
  • South London
  • East Cornwall and Devon.

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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