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Inclusive fun for all abilities.

This provision is for children who have a disability aged 8 -18 years and runs during the school holidays. A great setting for children to attend our snooker sessions and learn a new sport. Along the way your child will make new friendships and learn a great deal. The staff help focus on boosting children's confidence and social skills in an all inclusive and welcoming space.
If you are a parent/carer and you are interested in your child becoming a member please complete the referral form below.



The Stephen Harrison Academy (SHA) is a ground breaking social enterprise based in Sheffield. Since 2007, we’ve developed and proved the social impact of our innovative methods of working with children with disabilities with short break activities that have long-term benefits for our young participants and their families.

We’ve worked with Sheffield City Council Special Needs Inclusion Playcare Service (SNIPS) for more than 10 years, using our learning to improve and provide valuable programmes for children with a range of mental and physical disabilities.

What our service offers

The short break programme was devised by ex-professional snooker player Stephen Harrison to combine the joy of learning new skills with real learning opportunities for young people with mental and physical disabilities in the city that’s the home of the sport. The breaks use the game of snooker as a starting point for a much wider range of activities. The activities include coaching, confidence-building, tournaments for all abilities, quiet zone time, peer mentoring and one-to-one support.

Our short break activities offer proven benefits including:

·         Great social interaction

·         The chance to practise numeracy, literacy and interpersonal skills

·         Achievable, inclusive and confidence-building sporting sessions

·         Fun awards and recognition in a safe space with the chance to build a team of friends along with personal resilience and self-worth.

Ages of children taking a short break

We provide short breaks for youngsters between the ages of 8 and 18. Our younger participants will often be discovering snooker, and this particular kind of social interaction, for the first time. They are supported both by our staff and by older members of the group, who have been coming to us regularly for short breaks. This structure benefits our younger joiners, who can see what continued participation can achieve, and our older participants, who get the chance to build leadership and mentoring skills to develop their own confidence and social skills.

We consider both the age and the range of ability of each individual child in everything we do.

We have a long and successful history of participation: some of those who came to us as youngsters have now stayed around to act as volunteers and mentors, so they provide real help and advice from their own lived experiences.

Structure and approach

Each of our staff team is fully briefed on each child who will be attending the short breaks. For the first hour of the day, each child takes part in a combination of individual and group coaching to put them at ease and help us to assess their potential: we are dedicated to our short breaks making a long-term difference.

For the second hour, they are supported as they practise their skills, both by our team and the many volunteers who themselves started on our short break programme.

The sessions continue with a range of confidence-building, supported ‘tournaments’, giving youngsters the chance to work through a number of stages so they experience what it’s like to progress and build skills.

For those service users for whom interaction is more challenging, or who might have other issues on their mind, we offer them the chance to break out to a quiet area or one-to-one chats with our staff members. If they get bored of snooker or need a break, they can enjoy the other fun activities we have including foosball, Xbox and Wii gaming stations and board/card games with the staff and other children.

We also offer volunteering opportunities to young people who have previously attended the Academy's Short Break Service; when they reach 18 years old, they come along to sessions and help with the activities. 

Accessible to all

Stephen Harrison started this programme having realised the real benefits of snooker as a sport that’s truly accessible to every gender, level of fitness, age and mental and physical ability.

Children on the short break programme often surprise themselves, and us, with their achievements and with the degree of confidence they display following their sessions.

Our ongoing relationships with many of the children who first came to us on the short-break programme is testament to our staff and volunteers and their dedication to ensuring the best possible future for every child.


"Brilliant team here, my son has loved every minute of it."

Ian Steer - Parent

"Fantastic place for children with special needs to go to and feel safe and welcome. The snooker club is set up to meet all the children's needs and for them to make new friends which children with autism find difficult to do.  and to make friends in a quiet, secure and fun environment."

Amanda Cutts - Parent

"SHA has helped my son a lot he has been attending the club for 5 years now and has made real progress in the game."

Lydia Wood - Parent

"Steve himself has a fantastic personality and a gift for working with these children, he is amazing with everyone connected with the Academy the children, staff and parents. He has an amazing persona, he is patient, understanding, caring, professional and passionate about snooker and its positive effects it can have for everyone, especially for anyone with a disability."

Helen Garner - Parent

"It's so rewarding for the kids, the social aspect of it for children with additional needs and social problems is fantastic."

Andrew Gibson - Parent

"It's been a pleasure, I'm learning a lot of things like how to play snooker ... I would like to say thankyou to SHA for doing things for me that are good and helpful."

Raheem, 15

"It's loads of fun."

Jack, 10

"Snooker has helped me to make new friends."

Josh, 12


SNIP Children with Special Needs

If you are a SNIPS child or parent/carer of a SNIPS child with special needs and would like to join this service please fill out this form.

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