Steph Atkinson, a volunteer coach and welfare officer at Little Victories FC in Barton-upon-Humber, has won the BBC Sports Personality "Unsung Hero" award for East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
The overall winner of the BBC Unsung Hero Award will be announced at the BBC Sports Personality programme, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. The ceremony, which Ms Atkinson will attend, will take place on 19th December on BBC One and iPlayer.
Steph’s journey began as a mum, when she saw a poster for the launch of Little Victories FC (March 2022), and she brought her twin boys along – Henry and Herbie, who both have cerebral palsy.
As Little Victories FC grew, in November 2022, the club reached out to the parent’s and asked: “Little Victories is looking to recruit a new volunteer…”. Motivated by compassion, Steph stepped forward, and crossed the white line as they say, to become a coach and future welfare officer.
Ms Atkinson said she was "very overwhelmed and surprised" to receive the award. "I do it for the children, to bring them happy smiles and happy experiences", she said.
Thanking her twin boys, Henry and Herbie, for "making her a better person" and "inspiring her to do good for other children, like themselves". Ms Atkinson plans and delivers the weekly sessions, welcomes new families, and has completed her FA training.
She was nominated by Garth de Roux, from Active Humber who said: "Steph's journey as a volunteer highlights the power of compassion and the immense impact that one person can make".
Sophie Bartup, Founder of Little Victories, says: “Steph’s journey has touched the lives of so many young people and their families. Steph’s extraordinary willingness to go above and beyond, including leading on many club initiatives, is a demonstration of her empathy and compassion that has helped Little Victories FC to create a community built on solidarity and positivity.”
Jordan Mason, Football Development Officer (Disability & Inclusion) at Lincolnshire FA, said: “Steph is incredibly deserving of the BBC Sports Personality Unsung Hero Award for East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
She demonstrates an unwavering enthusiasm and commitment to Little Victories and all that they do to support young people with Cerebral Palsy and similar conditions not just to enjoy football, but to make friends, develop their skills, grow in confidence, and thrive as players and as young people. I first got involved with Little Victories in March 2022 when I helped Sophie to set the club up, to meet the needs of young people across Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire who have cerebral palsy.
The club has grown from strength to strength since, now with over 22 regular players. It’s a testament to everything that Steph, and all of the Little Victories family do, that the club has seen so much success - most recently winning Lincolnshire FA’s Highly Commended Club Award at our Lincolnshire FA Awards!
Congratulations Steph - it is amazing to see you getting the recognition you deserve. Thank you for everything you do!”
Remember to tune in to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards on BBC One and iPlayer on 19th December to see if Steph is successful in being the overall award winner.
For more information on Little Victores in the Community, click here
For more information on Disability Football opportunities in Lincolnshire, click here
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