Sheffield Mencap and Gateway will host a new ‘Festival of Snooker’ to coincide with this year’s Betfred World Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
Building on snooker development projects during the last 18 months, and with the support of the WPBSA and the Royal Mencap Society, the event will bring together people with learning disabilities from Sheffield and Doncaster Mencap to celebrate the achievements and progress they have made in their localised groups.
The event will be held on Friday 27th April from 10:30am – 2:00pm at Sheffield Mencap, Norfolk Lodge, Park Grange Road, Sheffield, S2 3QF.
Mencap will be running a series of snooker sessions during the day with members of Sheffield and Doncaster Mencap, playing to an audience of people with a learning disability from both organisations.
This will be a ‘fun’ event with awards for the best player on the day from Sheffield and Doncaster, and an emphasis on the development that individuals have made and encouraging new members to get involved with this fantastic sport.
Dave Swindlehurst, Senior Manager at Sheffield Mencap and Gateway said: “Sheffield Mencap are delighted to be hosting this event and to be able to demonstrate how, with the right support and encouragement, our members can not only take an active part in snooker, but also develop their skills and improve confidence.
“We want to use this event as a showcase for what people with learning disability can achieve and aim to build on this for future years to encourage even better participation. Sheffield Mencap are particularly grateful to the support of the WPBSA which has enabled so many of our members the opportunity to play cue sports.”
Barry Goforth of Doncaster Mencap added: “Doncaster Mencap is pleased to be able to link up with Sheffield Mencap and promote snooker to all. We are very grateful for the opportunity given to allows people with learning disabilities to play snooker which is one of the most popular sports for them to participate in.
“This helps them all together not only for the benefit of engaging in sport type activity, but also with their wellbeing for example to learn new skills, gain self-confidence, experience being part of a team, meeting others and perhaps one day being able to meet and play their heroes in the sport.
“I would like to thank Faye Dixey, WPBSA Sport Development Manager Chris Hornby, Aaron Firth, the Royal Mencap Society, WPSBA and Sheffield Mencap for hosting this first snooker competition.
“Let’s hope this partnership is a start of taking snooker and sporting activities to people with disabilities and providing them with the same opportunities to take place as everyone else.”
Royal Mencap Society Senior Sports Engagement Officer Faye Dixey said: “It has been great to work with the WPBSA on engaging people with a learning disability to play snooker. Sheffield Mencap & Gateway and Doncaster Mencap have really enjoyed delivering the snooker sessions and it has had such a positive impact on their members in terms of health, friendships and team work.
“The Mencap Festival between the two groups will be a great opportunity for them to showcase the skills learnt and compete for glory. We look forward to working further with the WPBSA to get more people with a learning disability into snooker.”