The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) is thrilled to announce that it has been awarded funding by Parkinson’s UK to create new opportunities for people to play snooker.
The funding from the Parkinson’s UK Physical Activity Grants programme will contribute to ‘Introduction to Snooker’ groups being set up in Northern Ireland, Wales and England in collaboration with local Parkinson’s UK social groups and snooker clubs.
This new project comes a year after the WPBSA showcased the benefits of picking up a cue through its Therapeutic Value of Snooker guide launched at last season’s UK Championship.
The sport, along with the club environment, can offer a uniquely fulfilling experience for people with long-term health conditions, benefiting from the proven physical, mental and social benefits of snooker.
WPBSA’s subsidiary body, World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS), has also served as a platform for players with a range of disabilities to progress into competitive snooker. Regular WDBS Tour players have spoken about the positive impact of the sport on their lives.
This funding award will engage with eight local Parkinson’s UK groups through four free sessions per group at their nearby snooker club, led by a WPBSA coach.
Participants will enjoy a two-hour session each time, with the first hour involving basic-level, fun snooker coaching, while the second hour will be recreational group play.
Group members will also have the option to stay for a tea or coffee afterwards at the club to enjoy further opportunity to socialise.
The aim of these sessions will be to kick-start a long-lasting interest in snooker, focused on fun, group activities around the snooker table with a view to establishing regular sessions.
WPBSA will work with several partners to ensure the project is a success, including Parkinson’s UK Area Development Managers, local authorities, Active Partnerships and disability sport sector bodies.
The majority of the funding will contribute to club and coaching costs associated with the project delivery. Selected clubs and coaches will also have the opportunity to access free training resources to support their provision.
WPBSA Club and Facilities Manager Bob Hill said: “We’re really excited about receiving this grant, which will add another strand to our development work.
“We’re delighted to be working with Parkinson’s UK who have recognised the many benefits that playing snooker brings.
“Our fantastic network of snooker clubs, who are true community hubs, will offer an excellent environment for these sessions.”
To follow the project, which starts in the New Year, visit the WPBSA website.