A Teesside University master’s student is helping young people from the region gain experience of rowing after receiving a prestigious funding boost.
Becky Graham is one of only six people from across the country to be awarded the Henley Royal Regatta Stewards’ Charitable Trust funding, which allows recipients to pursue their higher education while also coaching rowing in their local community.
Becky, 24, has only been rowing for four years, but is already making waves, having lost her novice status at the Durham Regatta last year.
She is passionate about competing in the sport, but also coaching and enabling young people from disadvantaged areas to try their hand at rowing.
The funding is enabling Becky to study a part-time master’s degree in Human Resource Management at Teesside University while also completing 20 hours a week of junior coaching for Tees Rowing Club.
She is working with schools and community groups to give young people, aged between 12 and 18, opportunities to learn and take part in rowing.
“I was delighted to receive the funding as it allows me to further my education and qualifications, while at the same time pursue my coaching,” explained Becky.
“I started rowing four years ago as I wanted to take up a sport to keep active after initially finishing university. Rowing was something I enjoyed and it seemed to come naturally to me.”
Becky represents Tees Rowing Club and competes in both singles and doubles races.
She added: “My main aim with junior coaching is to increase participation, but I am keen to work with young people from disadvantaged areas to provide them with opportunities that they might not ordinarily receive.
“I really enjoy working with people and rowing is a great sport which has so many benefits – it is nice to be able to pass on some of what I have learnt and give young people the chance to get involved in the sport.
“Studying part-time is perfect for me. Teesside University has been extremely supportive and I’m able to focus my time on doing two things that I really enjoy.”
Kate O'Sullivan, Chair of the British Rowing National Coaching Committee, added: "British Rowing is committed to ensuring that the sport is accessible to all communities. To achieve this, the development of our coaching workforce is critical and the support given by the Henley Stewards’ Charitable Trust and Sport England to enable young coaches like Becky to work alongside local clubs and communities is invaluable."