Disability sport is finding a haven at The Edge since it reopened six weeks ago. 

After a tumultuous seven-month closure, in what Neill McWilliams of Woolmer Hill Sports Association (WHSA) described as a “very negative, very political, very painful period”. The residents, sports clubs and groups rallied to get Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council to agree to a temporary 12-month lease. WHSA hare now running The Edge.

WHSA’s Neill McWilliams said: “Sport has never been so good in Haslemere. The availability and opportunities have never been better, irrespective of age, gender or ability.”

Not only have all the disability clubs – Frame football (Beacon Hill Football Club) and Wheelchair Multi-sport (F6IT) – returned to The Edge, but more of the clubs are offering disability inclusive sessions. Swallows trampolining is now offering dedicated pan-disability sessions for children, Haslemere Hockey Club is planning to provide wheelchair hockey, and table tennis, volleyball and The Edge’s newest club, pickleball, are all developing disability sessions.

Neill added: “Disability inclusion is just so important and that is at the heart of what we’re trying to achieve.”

To help make The Edge a Centre for Disabled Excellence, WHSA is seeking £20,000 to install a Changing Places toilet facility, to provide accommodation for wheelchair users, as well as a hoist and change mats. WHSA already has a requirement for these facilities and is working with the F6IT disability charity to get the funding.

Paralympic gold medallist Rachel Morris said: “We have been delighted that our disability sports teams have been able to return to the sports hall, but more importantly it is great to be working with the team at WHSA to extend the provision of disability sport, something that is so vital to disabled children within our community.”

Neill said: “It has been great to welcome back the previous user sports clubs and also welcome some new clubs. Its popularity demonstrates its importance within our community and we will continue our work to build its use and ensure it continues to be open beyond our initial agreement.”

WHSA is “incredibly hopeful” that, alongside making The Edge a Centre for Disabled Excellence, the facility will remain a place for everyone for a long time to come.