Sport Haslemere have made disability sport a key focus for the future as we try to make sport a onractical and attractive lifestyle choice for disabled people and to get more disabled people playing sport.
In the local area there are the great successes that are Frensham Pond Sailability, Swallows Trampoline Club and Haslemere Hockey Flyerz. Haslemere Hurricanes Netball Club are shortly to start promoting netball for the less able. We badly need other local clubs to follow their examples and be more inclusive. N.B. From experience we know that ‘pots of funding money’ for new facilities suddenly become easier to find, when a club is actively promoting disabled sport!
Perhaps we can give some practical advice from the success story of Haslemere Hockey Flyerz.
- The Club filled in a Sport England grant application form which asked how many disabled players the Club had. Zero was the answer, which is pretty awful considering there are 450 playing members.
- The Club heavily marketed Treloar, Ridgeway Farnham, Rodborough Special Needs and other schools for the less able and invited them to come up for late afternoon coaching at Woolmer Hill.
- On two consecutive Wednesdays, coaches were lined up but no-one turned up. The following week just one person turned up, and inevitably they got scared away from coming back the next week!
- Change of plan was needed, resulting in weekly coaching sessions in the schools, where there is a ‘captive audience’. The Club had the challenge of finding coaches in the school day and some of these needed paying. A grant was obtained from Sport England for this.
- After a number of weeks, hockey was becoming popular and the skills were being learnt. Only then was there the invitation to bring a group of enthusiastic players to use the warm indoor sports hall at The Edge – a little daunting for some.
- The new players get a club shirt, become members and now they train with all the other juniors on a Sunday morning – albeit in a separate area of the outdoor pitches.
- Transport is always an issue, especially with stressed-out parents, so any help that the club can offer is always welcome.
Melissa Farnham (the Head) is very keen to promote sport in her excellent school at Hindhead and she has an ‘enrichment’ period between 3.00 and 4.15pm each day and she welcomes any club to send in a coach to introduce a new sport to her children. It could be golf or polo or football or yoga or cricket – anything is possible on their astro pitch and their indoor hall (with poor weather). There are 43 children in the 11-19 year age group at Stepping Stones, as potential future sporting stars for your club!
- Clubs wanting to promote disabled sport. Please email Peter Lawrence (Sport Haslemere) on email@example.com
- New sailors – Frensham Pond Sailability. Please email Brian Grimwood on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thursday and Saturday morning sessions from 10.00 – 1.00pm. Taster sessions are available. More details at www.frenshampondsailability.
- New trampoliners – Swallows Trampoline Club. Please email Lynette Joyce on email@example.com
- New hockey players – Haslemere Hockey Flyerz. Please email Charlie McCumisky on firstname.lastname@example.org
Accessible Sailing for All
If you have a disability or long term illness and you are looking for a physically active and competitive outdoor sport, why not come along to Frensham Great Pond on any Thursday or Saturday morning between April and October? You will find the water filled with sailing boats! Most of the sailors will have various disabilities, but this does not stop them sailing, either independently on their own, or with one our vounteer helms.