A young Scarborough woman who has triumphed over adversity has had her achievements recognised.
Sami Kirby, 31, has won an award from the Yorkshire and Humber Prince’s Trust.
The awards recognise the achievements of young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community.
Sami says: “When I was very young, I was a victim of abuse. It made me feel alone and worthless”.
By the time she was 13, she had started skipping school and running away from home.
“The only thing I looked forward to was going to my grandparents’ house and helping them in the garden. It gave me a peace I didn’t come close to anywhere else”.
Soon Sami’s life got out of control; she drank, took drugs and moved from one town to another.
“I lived on the streets or in hostels and grew cannabis to fund my alcohol habit. What makes it worse is that I thought it was all just part of normal life”.
It wasn’t until Sami received a suspended prison sentence that she realised what a mess her life was in.
“After that, I got counselling for my depression and joined my local conservation society. I started growing my own veg and plants and even won awards for my produce.
“Then I met a Prince's Trust rep at my local JobCentre and they planted a seed of hope”.
The trust encouraged Sami to attend its enterprise programme, a four-day course that helps young unemployed people start a business.
“With the help of the trust, I managed to write a business plan and secure a £1,300 start-up grant to launch a gardening and growing business, SK Gardens. I gained one of my first qualifications then got my chainsaw licence and passed my driving test.
“I'd be lying if I said I didn't still doubt myself and my abilities at times, but because of the trust and the support of my grandparents, I am self-sufficient and so much happier. I have around 20 regular customers and am diversifying my business to keep me going through the winter when things get quiet. Life has changed completely since I found the trust”.