Snooker ace Steve pots a £1m launch

from left, Jim Harkness, Zoe Hall, Steve Davis, Pam Mallabourn and Sasha Johnson at the official launch of North Lancashire Training Group's new centre of excellence in Fleetwood
from left, Jim Harkness, Zoe Hall, Steve Davis, Pam Mallabourn and Sasha Johnson at the official launch of North Lancashire Training Group's new centre of excellence in Fleetwood

Snooker legend Steve Davis turned up in Fleetwood right on cue to help launch a new £1m youth training facility in the town.

The six-time world snooker champion was at the opening of the North Lancs Training Group’s new Centre of Excellence.

The centre is based at the former Fleetwood Gas Workers Club, which has been transformed beyond recognition.

The Preston Street premises now play host to a number of different training courses – traineeships or study programmes – which help prepare 16 to 18-year-olds for apprenticeships and jobs.

Steve, whose connections with the training group began with an exhibition match eight years ago, said: “North Lancs Training came up with the brilliant idea of using snooker to help young people learn maths.

“Snooker may have a misspent youth image, but it can help kids to learn not just maths but social interaction. I really enjoy it.

“This is a lovely new facility which can help young people find what they’re good at – and then get on in life.”

In place of the old Gas Workers function room, bar and store rooms, are modern classrooms, relaxation lounges and a room with mini-snooker tables to help teenagers brush up on basic maths.

The students can also make use of an IT suite, modern kitchen and even a hairdressing salon where they can practise skills relevant to their chosen course.

At the launch, teenagers from Fleetwood and Wyre were able to find out what was on offer.

Jim Harkness, NLTG’s managing director, said: 
“Steve is brilliant with the trainees and is the perfect person to launch this centre.

“We have funded this building entirely through making profits and ploughing it back in.

“We are investing in young people, giving them the skills and the job placement they need to be ready for the workplace.”