The English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards (EPSB) is today delighted to publish the project report for its three-year junior snooker summer holiday clubs programme.
The scheme, which started in 2019, was the first of its kind to receive Sport England endorsement with the aim of creating or bolstering junior snooker sections in clubs affiliated to the English governing body.
A Sport England grant match-funded by the EPSB supported a project that has worked with 20 clubs over three summers to involve nearly 400 junior players, create 34 Young Leaders and support 30 WPBSA coaches to run 120 fun and engaging snooker and billiards sessions.
The outcomes from the project have exceeded expectations and will be instrumental in guiding future development initiatives.
The programme was conceived in response to a call from clubs to help them understand an effective approach to generating interest in snooker among young people, while also targeting the quieter summer months.
Activities appealed to a wide range of participants, with 60 girls taking part, and a notably young cohort, with a third comprising 4-9 year olds and 82% of players being 14 or under.
The scheme has sought to develop an effective model for clubs and coaches to bring new junior players in, identify the optimal environment and establish long-lasting opportunities for youngsters.
Collaboration within the sports development sector has been critical to the success of the scheme, with snooker’s Sport England recognition playing a key role in raising awareness of the sport as a prudent option for young people.
The programme has demonstrated unequivocally that juniors want to play snooker. For the sport to appeal to young people requires easy and affordable access, dynamic session delivery and effective partnerships in the relevant locality.
WPBSA Club and Facilities Manager Bob Hill acknowledges this programme as a key moment for junior snooker development, commenting:
“This project report reveals a real optimism for the future of snooker in England and beyond.
“This programme has identified key outcomes and learning points that will be instrumental for the design and delivery of prospective development initiatives involving young people.
“We want to share our findings with snooker bodies around the world to help all providers benefit from what we have discovered.
“This report is a statement to the community, youth and sport sectors – presenting another piece of evidence to advocate for more investment into our sport.
“We’ve demonstrated that a relatively small funding contribution can go a long way and that we’re well placed to deliver these projects.
“This programme has made a substantial difference, and while we are thankful for the small grant we received, it’s clear that a larger share of sport sector public funding would be transformational for grassroots snooker in England.”
To read the Junior Project Report click here.