My name’s Katie, I’m 16 and live on the Isle of Wight. When I was 9 my mum and dad split up. My family were violent, and my mum was into drugs. So, from about 10 I pretty much had to bring myself up.

At 14, I was homeless for five and a half months - living on the beach and sofa surfing with people I didn’t know as well as I should have.

At 15, I got my first conviction for burglary. I got community service and 12 months with the Youth Offending Team.

Then, I decided I needed to speak up and ask for help. My Youth Offending Team Officer put me forward to join a voyage and honestly, it was amazing. I was dead excited to have a new experience, try new things and meet new people. It was the best experience of my life. My first voyage completely opened my eyes and showed me I can do better. It completely changed my opinion of sailing; every day is different, and you are always learning something new. You are with different people from different backgrounds, but no-one judges you. I got on really well with people I didn’t think I would, and you have to work together, regardless. It has really helped me to manage my emotions and get on better with people.

I didn’t want to lose the progress I made and couldn’t wait to come back and sail again. A week later, I woke up to a phone call from Tall Ships Youth Trust’s Youth Manager asking me to come back as a young leader. This was brilliant news! So, I went on the next voyage and then they asked me to come back and help with maintenance. They saw something in me that I didn’t see myself.

Now my life has settled into place really well. I don’t get involved with the police anymore, I don’t do drugs and I’ve moved in with my nan.

Hopefully, I’ll grow up to work on boats, but my next task is to learn how to swim!

Watch Katie's Story here: