The newest batch of scholars to graduate from the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards’ (EPSB) Young Leaders programme celebrated their successes at the recent Snooker Shoot Out in Leicester.
During the school summer holidays, the rookie snooker volunteers aged 14-16 supported WPBSA snooker coaches to run EPSB junior holiday clubs. Over the autumn, they completed monthly online skills modules on topics such as ‘safe sport’, ‘club marketing’ and ‘snooker pathways’ to improve their knowledge of snooker development programmes.
The Young Leaders selected by their clubs were typically existing players chosen to ensure that younger snooker novices would have older mentors to learn from.
The ‘Day at the Shootout’ included a presentation of certificates and branded Young Leader gear at Club 147, snooker activities in the World Snooker Tour Fanzone and attendance at Saturday afternoon’s penultimate session at the Morningside Arena, which included a shout out from MC Tahir Hajat.
The Class of 2023 represents the final cohort of Young Leaders from the three-year EPSB holiday clubs programme, part-funded by Sport England.
English snooker’s first national programme to benefit from a Sport England grant has offered exciting opportunities for almost 400 young people to try snooker for the first time at low-cost, led by dynamic coaches and making use of the EPSB’s network or affiliated clubs.
The scheme has supported clubs to kick-start or build junior snooker and billiards set-ups, engaging local schools and community groups, through backing from the EPSB.
The programme has also contributed to a significant rise in the number of juniors taking part in competitive snooker as part of the PowerGlide English Under-14 Championship. The competition starts with a club-based qualifying stage, usually linked in with a club’s junior section.
Young Leaders have been pivotal in delivering the success of the holiday clubs initiative. They represent one of several key aspects highlighted in a report on the three-year junior programme that will be published later this month.
WPBSA Club and Facilities Manager Bob Hill commented: “It’s fantastic to celebrate what these Young Leaders have achieved through this programme, which has proven really successful for clubs, coaches and all the young players who have picked up a cue for the first time.
“We’ve shown that there is massive enthusiasm among young people to be involved in our sport. We’ve also learnt a huge amount about how to collaborate with partners to plan, deliver and capacity-build junior snooker sessions – how to make the activities accessible to new players, and then to retain their interest.
“It will be exciting to publish the forthcoming project report, because we want to share the achievements and lessons of this scheme, which we hope clubs, providers and other snooker federations may be interested in.
“It’s also an additional piece of evidence that will add to our push for further funding into our sport.”
Any English clubs looking for support to start a junior club should email firstname.lastname@example.org