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Snooker has been a cornerstone of English Culture since the 19th Century, and with the UK Championships commencing as we speak, we are all excited and apprehensive to see who will prevail.

We have already witnessed some titanic struggles and vigorous competition in the first few sessions of the UK Championships, which have challenged the mental acuity of both the players and the viewers. However, what many of us don’t realise is how playing Snooker can have a direct impact on actively reducing offending behaviour amongst Youths.

A brilliant example of this is the Hyndburn Snooker Youth Club which was established in memory of Paul Hunter (a professional Snooker player for those of you who don’t know) who sadly passed away in 2006. Its aim was to give disadvantaged youths in Church (an area in Hyndburn - Lancashire) an opportunity to take a ‘break’ (please excuse the puns – they can’t be helped) and socialise irrespective of ability or financial background, whilst also getting involved in one of the best sports to have graced this earth.

The results of the creation of the Hyndburn Snooker club are absolutely astounding. The Lancashire Constabulary reports that shortly after the club got up and running, young people arrested in Church entering custody either drunk or under the influence reduced by 23%. There was also a 13% reduction in antisocial behaviour and a 27% reduction in Criminal damages in the area. As if this wasn’t already enough to prove the success of the Hyndburn Snooker club, the cost per capita of criminal damage incidents dropped in the first 2 years of its opening from £91.62 to £69.80 – a substantial reduction of 24%!

This club definitely hasn’t ‘missed the ball’, with the Lancashire Constabulary reporting the reduction in Criminal damages actually ‘chalk’ up a saving of around £294,512. This compared to the running costs of the club (totalling £16,640 per annum) give it a whopping return on investment of 1,770%. Similarly, Lancashire Youth Offending Team reported a ‘jarring’ 73% drop in 1st time entrants into the criminal justice system.

If this isn’t already enough to ‘cue’ excitement, then you should also know about the positive impact on mental health and cognition Snooker provides its players. Rohit Sagoo of Anglia Ruskin University tells us that:

'research has clearly outlined that when individuals play snooker, the game plays a vital role in maintaining or developing cognitive function.’

'As a "mind sport", these results back up the view that there is a significant degree of mental cognition involved with acquiring and developing knowledge of the game of snooker.’
'The learning curve that the sport provides promotes positive mental health and wellbeing.'

Perhaps we could learn something from all of this then. The legendary Steve Davis certainly believes so, proclaiming that the Hyndburn Snooker Club:

‘could be replicated across the whole country. It’s not just about snooker; it’s about educating and inspiring young people’.

There is no reason that I can fathom as to why the fantastic success of the Hyndburn Snooker Club could not be replicated all across the UK with similar Snooker Clubs. Not only has the club practically paid for itself for years to come via the resultant reduction to criminal damages, there is also plenty of evidence – as pointed out by Rohit Sagoo – to suggest that Snooker can benefit everyone due to its rehabilitative properties in relation to your mental health and cognition.

So next time you find yourself feeling down and like you need a ‘re-rack’ for life, just take a trip to your local snooker hall. You may find yourselves surprised at the impact it could have on you.
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