Grace Robinson is a full-time Stepping Up coach at Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation (MFCF).
Stepping Up is a transition project helping young people move from year six into year seven with the support of a mentor who acts as a familiar face between primary and secondary schools.
Grace’s daily routine is to work in her cluster of primary schools, or her chosen secondary school before transitioning into her evening community work. This offers wrap around care to the young people both in and out of school settings.
Within her weekly timetable, Grace also delivers on EFL Trust’s Joy of Moving Programme, delivering the Move and Learn project.
During these lessons, Grace excels at ensuring the lessons are inclusive and ensures all activities are differentiated to ensure all young people involved can learn and develop within a comfortable environment.
In addition to this, Grace also delivers on disability sessions working with young people who have a range of impairments.
Her personality, patience and enthusiastic attitude makes the sessions inspiring for those involved.
Harry who has Cerebral Palsy commented: “Grace’s sessions are so fun, It’s the best part of my week.”
When Grace started working at MFCF she was tasked with delivering a community-based session in one of the most deprived wards in Middlesbrough.
Initially, the session had only five young people attending but after six months, the session has up to 30 young people regularly attending each week.
This is testament to Grace and the innovative approach she has shown making the sessions engaging, promoting through hard to reach audiences and empowering young people to take a lead on activities they want to do.
Lennon who participates in Grace’s community session commented: “I only go to the session to play football and see Grace.”
Over the past year, Grace has also been a role model to one of MFCF’s current apprentices, Paul.
Paul attended Grace’s community sessions every week, three evenings a week.
Throughout the sessions, Grace built up a fantastic rapport with Paul and she soon became a role model to Paul who wanted to follow in Grace’s footsteps and become a coach.
Whilst finishing his final year at school, Grace gave him additional responsibilities at the community sessions such as leading small groups or activities or helping plan and set-up sessions.
Grace encouraged Paul to sign up for MFCF’s National Citizen Service (NCS) programme upon finishing school and developing his skills further over four weeks of the summer which he excelled at and became a very popular young person with all members of staff at MFCF.
Towards the end of 2018, MFCF recruited five new apprentices one of which was then Paul who has now developed from a participant on two programmes, to a volunteer and is now a full-time staff member thanks to the help and guidance of Grace.
Speaking of Grace, Paul stated: “She welcomed me into MFCF, always offers to help me and I feel like I have developed so much as a person and as a coach from working alongside her.”