Community Groups Back on the Baize

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The national lockdowns over the past 18 months have had an impact on people’s access to snooker facilities.  But the challenge of maintaining activity levels in sport has been felt most acutely by people with a disability, as reported recently by the Activity Alliance.

As we welcomed the return of our WDBS events with the Stockport Open earlier this month, we are also aware of the need for disability snooker to bounce back at a community level.

Organisations keen to spearhead such an initiative are JH Community Support and Oarpel, based in the Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire counties.

The service has recently launched a disability snooker club at Barratts in Northampton, welcoming disabled people of any ability level, from beginner to more experienced.

The club offers weekly competitions, including classics such as ‘snooker relay’ and ‘red hot’. The group offers a fun, sociable setting for its players while enjoying the sport of snooker.

Already the group has ambitions to take part in WDBS tournaments across the country, while also planning its first group trip to Milton Keynes in November to watch a World Snooker Tour event.

Those attending have thoroughly enjoyed taking part. Rick said: “I really enjoy the different games we play and meeting up with my friends is nice. I like the social side and having fun.”

Jack added: “It’s my first time playing snooker. I’m playing a sport I’ve never tried and I’m enjoying it.”

Barratts has supported the group to facilitate the sessions, even offering one of its players – Stephen – a role helping to maintain the tables. He said: “I work at Barratts and I clean the tables before everyone arrives. I love playing here with my friends and doing fun competitions.”

Group Leader Ray said: “We are trying to make the sessions as fun as possible. It’s a great opportunity for people with disabilities to improve their snooker skills by practising how to cue the ball better, control the ball and have fun. On top of that we have lunch together before the sessions start, which helps us build a great social aspect. We would love it to grow further.”

Josh Hendrickson, founder of JH Community Support, commented:  “I would like to say a massive thank you to the staff at Barratts! I’ve been bringing clients here over the years and they are always so welcoming and accommodating. Without them this new group would not be possible. Their generosity does not go unnoticed. Also, a massive thank you to the WDBS team for helping us set up this club – they have been extremely helpful.”

Another group that has enjoyed making its comeback onto the hallowed green baize is the Cue Zone Snooker Club in Bristol.

After a sudden halt in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, sessions finally recommenced last month at the Greenway Centre in Southmead.

The club runs on the first and third Friday of each month for adults with learning disabilities, offering coaching and guidance to playing snooker in a sociable environment.

It is one of three groups around the country accredited by DSActive in partnership with the WPBSA and WDBS.

Members of the Bristol group are looking forward to their famous Christmas tournament, as well as returning to a WDBS competition later this season.

To find out more about either running or taking part in community snooker sessions for people with disabilities please contact us