I first got into Kids Count through my friend. I was born and bought up on a large council estate where drug abuse, violence, crime and unemployment were rife.
My life was 'unstable'. I was often left without any food or water as my parents would stay in bed until 2/3pm. My parents relied heavily on benefits, with my dad in and out of jobs and my mum spending her whole life on benefits. They were more interested in spending the money they had on cigarettes and alcohol.
My memories of growing up were of hiding behind the sofa when bailiffs and debt collectors were knocking on the door to get the money that they were owed by my parents. As I got older, I had to use the money I earnt from my part- time job to pay the rent as my parents had spent theirs.
We moved at least 10 times when I was at school. We'd stuff what things we had into black bin bags
On many occasions my dad was arrested for being violent towards my mum.
Through determination, having my grandparents as roles models and through the support and opportunities, I have had in Kids Count, I have been able to make a life completely opposite to my parents. Thank you to my grandparents and Kids Count for helping me to make the change.