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Mel is a sixth-form student at Manchester Enterprise Academy in Wythenshawe and has spent the last 12 months being mentored by Foundation coaches.

United and Mel

A difficult but determined student, Mel found it hard to communicate and control her emotions, which often led to a very negative outlook on life. At the start of the mentoring process it was clear to see that Mel was struggling with confidence and often would often refuse to speak or engage with coaches.

Despite often rejecting the formalities of academia, Mel has been inspired by Foundation projects such as Volunteer Ninety Nine, a programme which has helped to deflect some of the struggles she faces in her day-to-day life.

After being mentored by Manchester United Foundation coaches Mel's attitude slowly changed and her general outlook on life improved. The coaching staff helped to build a relationship where Mel's fears and frustrations were free from judgement or criticism, allowing her to start focusing her energy on a love of football and coaching.

Mel first become involved in volunteering at the Wythenshawe Street Reds project where she would attend two evenings a week to assist in setting up and running football sessions. The commitment Mel showed also led to earning a paid match day position at Old Trafford, distributing team sheets to the executive boxes within the stadium before kick-off.

Over the course of her mentorship with the Foundation Mel has shown real changes in her character. Due to the positive feedback from her coaches and the opportunities at Manchester United, Mel's future has been given a sense of direction with female coaching being identified as a potential career path.

Speaking about her journey with the Foundation Mel says, "Having the support from the Foundation makes me see what I need to do to achieve. I know I have to improve and at times it's difficult but I want to repay those who put faith in me.”

The aim is now for Mel to progress from the Volunteer Ninety Nine programme to becoming a paid member of staff at Street Reds sessions, whilst also looking to complete her FA Level 1 in Football coaching qualification.

"The Foundation has changed my life,” Mel concludes. "If it wasn't for the coaches I don't know what I'd be doing; I wouldn't be here right now, and I'm so grateful.''