Church activities for people with disabilities

How active are local churches in caring for people with disabilities?

According to our research in 2016, around one in six churches had provided social services or social action activities to care for people with disabilities, in the past 12 months.

These activities and services included such things as skills training, respite or home care.  Some 11% of churches said they had provided such services occasionally and another 5% did so more frequently, on a monthly, weekly or daily basis.  

One in six churches run activities for the disabled  

In the 2016 National Church Life Survey, participating churches were asked how often they ran social services or social action activities, specifically in care for people who were disabled, e.g. skills training, respite or home care. While 11% of churches said they had provided such services occasionally, another 5% were more frequently active, doing so monthly, weekly or daily. The substantial majority of local churches (84%) however had not provided such activities.


Differences between churches

Running activities and services to care for the disabled differed between churches by the size of the church, the denomination and the year they were founded.

  • The larger the church, the more likely it was to provide care for the disabled. While 10% of churches with less than 25 attenders provided care at least occasionally in the past 12 months, this was true of 21% of churches with 120 attenders or more.
  • Pentecostal churches were more likely than other denominations to provide care for the disabled, with a quarter of churches (25%) doing so. Some 19% of Catholic parishes provided care, compared with 14% of Mainstream Protestant churches and 12% of Other Protestant churches.
  • Churches founded between 1950 and 1989 were more likely than younger or older churches to provide care for the disabled at least occasionally, with 21% of such churches doing so.


Many churches are actively engaged in being a place of inclusion and provision for people with disabilities. More information on these provisions and commitments are available in the articles below, and in the research paper 'Disability inclusion, provision and care in churches'.


Related Articles

Disability inclusion, provision and care: 2021 NCLS Report

Trends from 2016 to 2021 in church activities and approaches to disability inclusion

Disability provisions in churches

Nine in ten churches say they provide for people with disabilities

Churchgoers experience of disability

More than half of churchgoers have an experience of or connection with disability

Welcoming people with disabilities

How welcome would people with disabilities feel at your church?