Category: General News

New Campaign Encourages More Disabled People to be Active

A new national campaign has launched today to encourage and support disabled people, along with their friends and families, to become more active.

The Together We Will campaign looks to address the low number of disabled people who regularly take part in sport or exercise as highlighted in the most recent Sport England Active People Survey.

Results show that disabled people are half as likely to be active as non-disabled people. As one in five people in England have an impairment or long-term health condition, disabled people are a large proportion of everyone’s community. However, research highlights often disabled people do not find the opportunities accessible or appealing enough, or do not know where to go to find the right information.

Other insight shows that disabled people are keen to involve family and friends when being active and do not necessarily take part with just other disabled people. Fun is also highlighted as a key motivator for disabled people to be active.

Eight National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) are working together with the English Federation of Disability Sport to deliver the campaign, with backing from Sport England.

The Together We Will campaign shares first-hand experiences from people with different impairments or health conditions, about why being active is important to them. It also brings together useful information and support from the NDSOs on how and where you can begin getting active.

These stories all share a common theme – how being active has supported them to be healthier and stronger, while having fun along the way. NDSOs and EFDS will share disabled people’s experiences of sport and exercise, so others can learn more from the information and make choices about the activities they want to try.

Well-known actor, Will Mellor, is one of those championing the three-month campaign. He is extremely passionate about ensuring more opportunities exist for disabled people. With lived experience of disabled people in his family, Will wants to help make a difference and spread the Together We Will message. He is joining in the campaign by raising awareness of the opportunities and organisations that can support disabled people to be more active.

The eight NDSOs are British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Dwarf Sports Association UK, LimbPower, Mencap, Special Olympics Great Britain, UK Deaf Sport and WheelPower.

Each NDSO plays a valuable role in providing accessible opportunities and support for disabled people. The Together We Will campaign will help direct disabled people, their friends, family and supporters, to the recognised NDSOs for more guidance and information about being active.

Speaking about the campaign, Will Mellor said:

“I’m proud to be part of this campaign which helps to encourage disabled people to be more active. It’s about everyone coming together to have fun and become healthier.

“My sister had Marfan’s syndrome which affected her physically as well as with her learning. She sadly passed away in 2013, but I recall fondly how much we loved being active as a family together. Therefore, I’m really looking forward to meeting our ambassadors and hearing their stories. We can all make a positive change and support more people to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.”

Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Insight of Sport England, on behalf of all the campaign partners, said:

“We know that disabled people are half as likely to be active as non-disabled people. The National Disability Sports Organisations work with the sector to provide opportunities for a range of impairment groups to address this issue and encourage inactive people to get in to sport and physical activity.

“That’s why campaigns, like Together We Will, are so important. We need to put people and what they want and need at the very heart of everything we do. That includes supporting people to get active in places where they want to take part, in activities they want do and with people they want to be active with.

“We’re really excited about this campaign and are looking forward to working with all the National Disability Sports Organisations to help more disabled people to get active this summer.”

The campaign will run from July to September, as the nation embraces a summer of sport.

Activity organisers and providers can be involved in Together We Will.  Encourage disabled people to take part in your events and share the local support available to disabled people looking to be more active on social media using #TogetherWeWill.

For more information about Together We Will and support on how you can be more active, visit the joint campaign page

Join the conversation on social media using #TogetherWeWill and share your personal stories and photos of being active this summer.

Insight Survey Results

The WPBSA has today published the results of its Snooker Insight Survey carried out earlier in 2016.

The survey was devised with the aim of learning more about participation in snooker including why people play snooker and what benefits exist for players at all levels. Equally, the WPBSA is keen to better understand what barriers exist to those who don’t play and how these might be overcome by future initiatives.

The survey received responses from 1,351 people, of which 136 answered that they had a disability.

Subjects included general snooker habits, as well as more specific questions as to whether respondents felt that snooker is an inclusive sport for people with disabilities and if not, why.

To view the full results please click here, or alternatively read a report including results from those who stated that they had a disability only by clicking here.

Thank you to everybody who took the time to complete the survey which will be used to help us to shape the future development of our sport.

WDBS Supports Learning Disability Week

This week will see a series of events take place in support of people with learning disabilities, with a focus on the development of new friendships and relationships.

Learning Disability Week runs from 20-26 June 2016 and is co-ordinated by MENCAP, the leading voice of learning disability.


WDBS director Bob Hill

The recent WDBS Woking Open was the first world disability snooker competition open to people with learning disabilities. Many of the players who took part were part of a coaching group organised by WDBS director Bob Hill, a leading snooker coach in the Bristol area who recognises benefits of snooker for people with learning disabilities, including the creation of new social opportunities.

“I really believe snooker is an ideal sport for players with learning disabilities,” said Hill. “It involves an intuitive set of ideas, such as potting balls and taking it in turns; it’s interactive, giving players the chance to socialise while taking part; and it requires focus while not being over-complicated.

And the rewards do not only extend to the players themselves, but also to coaches such as himself and fellow WDBS director Tim Squires, who also coaches learning disability groups.


WPBSA World Snooker coach Danielle Findlay in Woking

“Coaching players with learning disabilities is the best part of the coaching I do because the players involved gain the most rewards from it,” continued Hill. “It’s not only about improving skill, but about players gaining confidence and social skills. One player in my group barely spoke during his first three sessions, but he has gradually made friends. He recently competed in the Woking Open tournament and thoroughly enjoyed it.

“I would encourage other coaches to develop snooker groups for players with learning disabilities – there are lots of skills and enjoyment to be gained from it. You will have a really positive impact on those who attend.

“I would also urge community organisations supporting people with learning disabilities to look at what snooker provision exists near them and give it a go. Or else contact the WDBS to find out how to get started.”

For more information and to support Learning Disability week please visit MENCAP’s website and tweet using the hashtag #LDWeek16

Listen: Adams Hails WDBS Growth

Jonathan Adams has spoken of the ‘fantastic’ opportunities provided by the WDBS since its formation last summer.

The WDBS director and British Paralympian has this week been featured on BBC Suffolk and Phoenix FM to discuss the progress made, following the successful staging of events in Gloucester, Manchester and Woking to date.

“To see the WDBS growing at the rate that it is, not just in the work that we are doing, but also the attention that it is bringing, just shows that if you have got an ambition and a vision to be professional and just do something right and with the best intentions possible, then the world is your oyster.”

In particular, Adams was thrilled by the success of the most recent WDBS event in Woking, which was the first to cater for players with both sensory and intellectual impairments:

“No event of my previous knowledge has been staged before for players with an intellectual disability in disability snooker,” said Adams. “We took it on ourselves to showcase how we think snooker can be a powerful sport, in that it’s not just available to a very select group, it is available to everybody.

“The event in Woking was a fantastic opportunity to give these players the opportunity to participate on a grand stage and that’s something that we feel we have achieved really well.”

To listen to Jonathan speak on Phoenix FM with guests including five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan please click here and scroll to approximately 20:00.

You can also listen to him during the first hour of Saturday’s afternoon’s broadcast on BBC Suffolk here, beginning at 8:39.

WDBS Announces 2016 Calendar

The WDBS has today announced its 2016 calendar with new events to be held in Manchester, Woking and Gloucester this year.

The announcement follows the successful staging of the 2015 Open Disability Snooker Championship at the South West Snooker Academy last November, which was open to five of the eight different WDBS classification groups.

The new calendar ensures that players from all eight different disability groups will have the opportunity to participate during 2016.

The first tournament will take place on the weekend of 19 and 20 March at Q’s Sports and Entertainment Bar, Manchester. The event will be open to groups 1-5, with full details and the entry pack to be released shortly.

On Friday 18 March there will also be a free open day at which people with any disability are encouraged to attend.

The second event will be held at the Woking Snooker Centre between 20 and 22 May. It is proposed that for the first time this will include tournaments for group 6-8 players, subject to receiving sufficient entries.

There will again be a free open day on 20 May, open to people with any disabilities.

The WDBS will also return to the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester from 15-16 October. A two-day tournament will be open to groups 1-5, with an open day for people with all disabilities to be held on 14 October.

Further information and entry details for the events in Woking and Gloucester will be released in due course.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “After the success of our inaugural event in Gloucester I am really pleased to announce our new WDBS events for 2016.

“We are still learning and through these events we want to understand how we can best meet the needs of our players. This is the start of a long road to create snooker events around the world for people with disabilities.”

WDBS director and ambassador Jonathan Adams added: “The announcement today shows the commitment of the WDBS to the future of disability cue sport in the UK and of fulfilling the goals that we set out to achieve last September.

“Following our inaugural event at the South West Snooker Academy we have received growing interest from the able bodied snooker tour and already we are starting to showcase how snooker is a sport for all and not just the privileged few.

“With help from our partners and new supporters we are excited to help the growth and development of snooker in 2016 and beyond.”

Bonnell Enjoys Masters Visit

The WDBS was pleased to welcome Graham Bonnell to the 2016 Dafabet Masters last week at the Alexandra Palace.

Bonnell won his category in Gloucester last November

Bonnell won his category in Gloucester last November

Winner of the Group 1/2 event at the 2015 Open Disability Snooker Championship in Gloucester last November, Bonnell was invited to see the matches between John Higgins and Liang Wenbo, and Neil Robertson and Marco Fu on Wednesday.

Between sessions, he was also given a guided tour of the venue by Master of Ceremonies Rob Walker, with the chance to watch the likes of Jimmy White and Mark Allen in action on the practice tables, as well as see the main arena and media centre.

From Oxted, Surrey, Bonnell was rewarded for his performances at the inaugural WDBS event, which saw him drop just one frame on his way to victory in his category at the South West Snooker Academy.

Graham watches Jimmy White on one of the practice tables

Graham looks on as former Masters champion Jimmy White pots balls on one of the practice tables

A fan of snooker for over 30 years, Graham was involved in a motorcycle accident in 1983 when he was just 18, in which he suffered a broken neck. Some years later he was invited to play snooker at the local British Legion and has since gone on to captain a team in his local league.

Upon hearing about the formation of the WDBS and the Open Disability Snooker Championship online, Graham decided to enter the event and eventually triumphed with a 3-0 victory against Glyn Lloyd in the final.

To read more about the tournament, including full knock-out results, please click here.

Click here for more photos from Graham’s visit to the Dafabet Masters.

Success for first WDBS event

Success For First WDBS Event

The new World Disability Billiards and Snooker body staged its first event last weekend, attended by players from around the UK and beyond.

The landmark event, called the 2015 Open Disability Snooker Championship, took place at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

WDBS Medal Winners

Medal winners! Back row left to right: Raja Subramanian, Steve Packer, Andrew Harper, Daniel Blunn, Tony Pockett. Front row left to right: Mark Parsons, Glyn Lloyd.

The WDBS was launched in September with the intention to give more people with disabilities the opportunity to play cue sports.

There were three main events held at the tournament, incorporating five different disability classification groups.

Taking victory in the combined Group 4 and 5 event was India’s Raja Subramanian, who defeated Gloucester’s Tony Pockett 2-0 in the final.

His win completed a remarkable story for the 43-year-old from Mumbai, who came over to the UK especially for this event and next weekend’s LITEtask British Open billiards tournament in Bradford.

For the past seven years Raja has predominantly played billiards, rising to 25th in the world rankings in 2014. He impressed throughout the weekend in Gloucester, hitting several breaks over 50 and winning ten frames without reply on his way to a well-deserved medal.

The Group 3 event was won by Daniel Blunn of Sutton Coldfield, who defeated Andrew Harper from St Helens 2-0 in a tightly contested final.

Raja Subramanian

Raja Subramanian defeated Gloucester’s Tony Pockett 2-0 in the final

The combined Group 1 and 2 wheelchair category was won by Surrey’s Graham Bonnell. Having topped his round robin group, he defeated Glyn Lloyd 3-0 in Sunday’s final.

There was also a plate event held on the tournament’s final day for the remaining ten players who had not progressed to the knock-out stages. This was won by Mark Parsons, who defeated Steve Packer in their single frame final.

In addition to their medals and participation certificates, all main event finalists will be invited to watch the Betway UK Championship semi-finals at the York Barbican and be presented with their medals in the main arena.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “It has been a fantastic first event here at the South West Snooker Academy. I have been overwhelmed by the approach of the players to the tournament, how they have enjoyed it and the outcomes we have had. We have had some fascinating stories coming out of the event.

Graham Bonnell

Graham Bonnell defeated Glyn Lloyd 3-0 in Sunday’s final

“This is the start of a very long road to get us back to the Paralympics and to get more people involved at grassroots level playing this great sport.”

British Paralympian and WDBS board member Jonathan Adams added:

“It has been a brilliant event. To say that we would be staging an event of this magnitude four months after creating the WDBS is something that I didn’t think would be possible and it has just been tremendous.

“It’s amazing to see players from as far away as India coming here to compete. To see the way that people have been captured by other people’s stories and to see it come to reality, after the work we have done, is only going to be beneficial for the future.

“We are all aware of the difficulties and the challenges that come with dealing with disability sport and disabled individuals, but it has not been about the disabilities. It has been about the abilities on the table and we have seen how much the players have enjoyed the competition and the atmosphere.

Jonathon Adams

Jonathan Adams

“I believe that this has put us firmly back on the map. The future is only bright.”

Prior to the two-day tournament there was an open day for people with disabilities with coaching provided by Tim Squires of Snookerbility and Bob Hill, both WPBSA Coaches. Those in attendance also had the opportunity to have photographs taken with the World Championship trophy.

It is proposed to hold the next event in March 2016 for the categories not included in this event.

Results (knock-out stages)

Group 1/2 Final
Graham Bonnell 3-0 Glyn Lloyd
Group 3 Final
Daniel Blunn 2-0 Andrew Harper
Group 4/5 Semi-Finals
Raja Subramanian 2-0 Jayson Wholey
Tony Pockett 2-0 Brent Welland
Group 4/5 Final
Raja Subramanian 2-0 Tony Pockett
WDBS winners to receive medals in york

WDBS Winners To Receive Medals In York

Entries are still open for the first tournament staged by the new World Disability Billiards and Snooker body in Gloucester later this month, and the WDBS is delighted to announce that the winners will be invited to one of snooker’s biggest events to receive their medals.

The medals will be presented at the York Barbican on Saturday December 5th during the final weekend of the Betway UK Championship. Each winner will also receive two tickets for the afternoon and evening sessions and a hotel room.

The WDBS event will run on the weekend of November 28-29 at the South West Snooker Academy

The profiles below show who can play in this event. WDBS is looking to run tournaments for Groups 6 (learning disabilities), 7 (visual impairment) and 8 (deaf/hearing impairment) in the future and we would be interested in contact from any groups or leagues which already provide provision for these groups.

Wheelchair profiles

  • Profile 01c: Almost no use in four limbs. Need to use a power wheelchair, or a manual wheelchair.
  • Profile 01p: Almost no use in four limbs. Need to use a power wheelchair, or a manual wheelchair.
  • Profile 02: Almost no use in four limbs, but can bend elbows, and just about push a manual wheelchair. May need to use a power wheelchair.
  • Profile 03: Wheelchair user with very poor balance and inability to grip and release objects.
  • Profile 04: A person with almost no use in any limb, but with good trunk control. Usually able to push a wheelchair in some way.
  • Profile 05: A wheelchair user who has difficulty controlling their limbs when trying to perform any activity.
  • Profile 06: A wheelchair user with poor trunk control and slightly weak hands, or slight lack of control in arms.
  • Profile 07: A wheelchair user with good use in only one arm, they may need to use a power wheelchair if unable to push manual wheelchair.
  • Profile 08: A wheelchair user with good control of trunk and slightly weak hands.
  • Profile 09: A wheelchair user with good use in arms, but with poor trunk control.
  • Profile 10: A wheelchair user with good use of trunk and arms but unable to use the hips to assist trunk movement.
  • Profile 11: A wheelchair user with good control of trunk and hips.

Ambulant Profiles

  • Profile 12: Able to walk, but has severe difficulty controlling all four limbs when performing an activity. May need to use a support to walk, or may have severe deformity of four limbs.
  • Profile 13: Able to walk, but has poor use of three limbs, usually uses a stick in good hand.
  • Profile 14: Able to walk, but one side of the body is of little use; usually can only balance unaided on the good leg.
  • Profile 15: Able to walk, but only one side of body works correctly.
  • Profile 16: One upper limb has little or no use.
  • Profile 17: Able to walk, but both legs are severely impaired, acting more like props. May need support to walk.
  • Profile 18: Able to walk, but one leg severely impaired, like a prop; other leg normal.
  • Profile 19: Able to walk, one leg severely impaired, used like a prop; other leg less impaired.
  • Profile 20: Able to walk and run but both legs impaired slightly – e.g. a moderate to slight diplegic.
  • Profile 21: Both arms are severely impaired or may be absent.
  • Profile 22: Both arms slightly impaired or absent below the elbow.
  • Profile 23: One leg has slight impairment, and they can usually run if fit enough.
  • Profile 24: One arm demonstrates difficulty with activities or below elbow amputee.
  • Profile 25: Very short stature (at least 12 inches (30.5cm) shorter than average, in particular extreme shortness of limbs.
  • Profile 26: Impairment of all four limbs, but not as severe as profile 12.
  • Profile 27: Opposite arm and leg severely impaired.
  • Profile 28: Both hips impaired causing walking difficulty, usually waddling gait.
  • Profile 29: Both shoulders causing problems with movement.
  • Profile 30: Deformity or weakness of the trunk.
  • Profile 31: Both legs severely impaired, both arms moderately impaired.
  • Profile 32: Both arms severely impaired, both legs moderately impaired.
WDBS Background

Entries Open For First WDBS Event

The first tournament staged by the new World Disability Billiards and Snooker body will take place in Gloucester in November.

Online payment for entry is now available – find out more information

Players must also fill out the entry pack, select the link below.

Entry pack

Open day details

View flyer

The WDBS was launched in September having been created to give more people with disabilities the opportunity to play cue sports.

The first event will take place on the weekend of November 28 and 29 at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester. Full details and the entry pack are now available using the links above, with a closing date of November 20.

There will be five different disability classification groups at this tournament, though the WDBS intends to extend this to eight groups at future events.

The medal and trophy presentations will be made by Paralympic shot-putter Jonathan Adams.

On Friday November 27 there will also be a free open day for disability snooker, with coaching sessions by Tim Squires.

WDBS logoThe South West Snooker Academy provides world class practice and playing facilities, featuring five Star tables fitted to World Snooker specifications, three more Star tables and two further tables.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “We are delighted to announce the first WDBS tournament and we are sure it will be a great success. We encourage anyone eligible to take part regardless of their snooker standard. It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet others, get free coaching, and play in a competitive environment at an excellent venue which has been used for professional tournaments. Hopefully this will be the first of many successful WDBS events.”