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Inclusive fun for all abilities

This provision is for children who have a disability aged 8 -18 years and runs every saturday 10am-3pm. 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.

the years, we run monthly awards nights which the children attend along with their families this works well has the children mix with the friends they have met through the setting and the parents get a chance to meet each other and become friends.

Children who attend the short breaks 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.


"The club has such a lovely atmosphere. It’s a calm environment but full of fun too. The staff are so friendly and encouraging. You feel like you’re part of a big, extended family. This is all down to Steve Harrison himself – such an inspirational man, with a huge passion for the sport and in particular, for increasing access to the game for people with disabilities."

Sheena Mansell - Parent

"We cannot stress how grateful we are for all that Steve does for our son and others by giving them the opportunity to have somewhere to go that they love, feel a part of and to feel included whilst learning a life-long skill."

Ashley Garner - Parent

"My son's autistic and had the chance to come and see what it's all about here, he only had an hour but he decided in that hour he wanted to come back, Steve, Katie and rest have been really welcoming to us and today made me proud, Steve got him helping him do things and play cards and did tricks, my son really enjoyed today, it was nice to see, I'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone."

Paul Hutchinson - Parent

"It's really fun and I get to meet new people."


"Snooker benefits me because not only am I getting better at the sport, my social skills have improved significantly and my speaking skills as well."

William, 16

"I like it because it helps me with what I've got (special needs) and I learn new things and meet new people as friends."

Ewan, 14

"The Academy has been a great help, if I hadn't joined the disability group I probably would never have picked up a cue and would've been stuck in the house not doing much."

Joe Bell - Former Service User and Volunteer

"My son get real benefit from coming here every week"

Lydia Wood - Parent

"It's good making new friends and playing snooker."

Josh, 16


SNIPS children with special needs

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

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