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My life at the club by Josh Garner

I joined the Stephen Harrison Academy in 2013. My mum and dad organised a 'come and try' session for me by SNIPS. When I first went to the club, I was a bit nervous with not knowing anyone there. I met Steve who runs the club, he introduced me to the other kids, and I started to settle in well. I did not know how to play snooker, but Steve and the other staff members showed me how to hold a cue correctly and learn how to knock a few balls in. I felt the club was a relaxing environment. It was quiet and all you hear is the snooker balls colliding together and people just having conversation about how their week has been. I loved the club so much and I asked Steve if I could come to more sessions.

Steve said you can become a volunteer with the after-school club helping teach some of the other kids how to play the game. This helped me because I was struggling in school, school stressed me at times, and it was just nice to go somewhere where I felt relaxed. I love helping out at the extra sessions and quickly learnt that it wasn’t just the snooker that made me want to keep coming back, it was the people there, kind staff and other kids who have the same everyday stresses as I do. Steve, Katie and Niall have really helped me, they are always saying it’s nice to be kind to people and explaining that I need to focus on positivity, making my behaviour better in school and they help me with general life pressures.

I am growing up now and have loved my experience volunteering at the club. It has helped me so much throughout my teenage years. I like the feeling that some of the younger kids look up to me and ask me for advice on how to play the game. My goal in life would be to work full time for the academy helping the younger kids who suffer with life stresses like me.

Recently I turned 18 years old and I know I must get some sort of a job just to earn some money. I have applied for many jobs and sometimes you do not here back from them which is disheartening. But then I got a response I had to get myself ready for an interview for a job I applied for. I mentioned to Steve and the team that I was a little nervous going to the interview. The staff at the academy prepared a mock interview, also giving me advice like researching the company and said in the interview keep good eye contact and a straight back when sitting down, be confident and breathe slowly, be sure of yourself. Believe in yourself that I can do this. These techniques along with the mock interview and questions the staff at the club asked me got me focused and ready for my interview.

The interview came, I was confident, well-spoken, and answered the questions well. And do you know what…. I got a telephone call with a job offer. I started the position a few weeks ago (May 2020)

and I am enjoying earning my own cash. I would like to say thanks to all at the club for their help. I cannot wait until I can go back to the club and start volunteering helping the younger kids again on a Saturday. Unfortunately, I can’t go to the club at present due to the covid virus and me turning 18, but when it’s safe to go back I will be there passing on the skills that I have learnt over the years to the younger members.

Stephen Harrison from the academy says: "This is a great achievement for Josh, we are all immensely proud of him. It shows that attending our snooker club is not just about learning the sport of snooker. It is the social aspects the children get out of attending. Building confidence and promoting positivity.


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