Project information

The DSActive Programme

DSActive is a sports programme for people with Down’s syndrome (DS) run by the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA), created in response to the severe lack of opportunities for people with DS to be active or participate in sports. The subsequent health problems include obesity loneliness and depression

April 2018 - March 2019

Charity information: Down's Syndrome Association

Down's Syndrome Association logo
  • Need


    The programme will combat the low participation levels of people with Down's syndrome in sport and physical exercise, with a particular emphasis on encouraging females to become involved. DSA are looking to solve this by expanding the number of clubs and incorporating other sports into their programmes. Presently, DSActive run two kinds of sport programmes – football and tennis and would like to expand this into other sports.


    The programme offers at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. The programme also communicates with players, parents and coaches to discourage a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet, offering advice and encouragement for additional sporting activity and a more healthful choice of nutrition.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Implement a minimum of four new teams per year in conjunction with professional football clubs


    » Engage in dialogue with professional clubs and negotiate.

    Ensuring that four professional football clubs create a DSActive team within each 12 months

    Aim 2

    Increase the frequency and participation of our largely popular training sessions and festivals


    » Use various forms of promotion including the DSA database (for mailings), the website and the social networking pages

    Ensuring at least 80 new players join the programme annually

    Aim 3

    Offer DSActive players the opportunity to take part in sporting opportunities


    » Maintain regular contact with other sporting bodies including the FA and Special Olympics in order to recommend players

    Supporting players in to further teams and competitions

    Aim 4

    Offer participants the chance to become a coach themselves through the coach-ability programme


    » Continue to develop the ‘coach-ability’ coach training programme (FA approved).

    By demonstrating the coaching ability of players with DS by securing part-time coaching-assistant work within football clubs

  • Impact


    Engaging in team sports and activities allows participants to experience a boost in confidence as they enjoy exercise and are among their own peer group, which has a positive impact on well-being, emotional and physical development. An improvement in management of weight and obesity issues is evidence to demonstrate the success of DSActive.
    The DSA uses regular evaluations, questionnaires and case studies to demonstrate the positive impact the DSActive project has had on participants.


    One of the biggest risks facing the DSActive programme is the continuity of funding. Our current grant from Sport England will cease in March 2018 and we are applying for further funds from other sources to ensure that the project can continue.


    DSActive will continue to report to donors by providing monthly/quarterly updates about the programme, our existing teams and any teams that have recently/are due to launch. This will be accompanied by images and links to any videos/visual updates on our website or that of our partner clubs.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £91,737

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £32,311 Project manager Staff to oversee and manage the project
      £27,686 Project officer Staff to run and manage the project
      £4,000 Marketing Promotional materials for the project (including mail outs to groups and individuals)
      £4,000 Website & office running costs Website development and maintenance
      £6,400 Travel & Accomodation £3k per staff member
      £8,000 Football Festival Annual Football Festival
      £1,000 Resources Kits, laces, whistles etc
      £8,340 Management & admin Management & admin
  • Background


    DSActive are striving to grow and develop their reach and currently have over 45 football sessions and 16 tennis programmes that run over England and Wales. Further funding will allow for more clubs to be set up.


    DSActive is accessible for children and adults with DS and caters for all ages and ability. Positive outcomes include; physical activity, increased fitness, socialisation, confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing. Family are also given the opportunity to network and create social support systems.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The DSA demonstrate and deliver a high level of service, resulting in numerous achievements and long lasting outcomes. The Down's Syndrome Association is the only organisation in this country focusing solely on all aspects of living successfully with Down's syndrome. The organisation benefits from a wealth of knowledge in regards to the condition, as well as close links with other like-minded organisations, and in this case, football and tennis clubs.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Alex Rawle

    Alex is the Project Manager and will be overseeing the development and running of DSActive.

    Sophia Pittounikos

    Sophia is the DSActive Sports Officer and supports Alex to run and develop the DSActive project.

    Alexa Dizon

    Alexa is the head of the fundraising department who make the DSActive project possible and will be raising funds via The Big Give.

“The coaches are brill, they’re fantastic; they make me feel proud and lovely when I play football. I really like football so much”

DSActive participant.