A teenage girl who became homeless when she was 16 has been voted Carlisle Key’s Young Person of the Year.

Two years ago, when life became tough, Jodie Robinson, 18, was housed in supported accommodation.

Carlisle Key, which works with young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, says Jodie is now ready to move on and is playing an active role in the community.

Every year the charity awards one young person with the Young Person of the Year Award.

Staff voted for Jodie as they say she has shown that she is resilient, able to motivate and help others and is determined to move on from homelessness.

Jodie, a former Richard Rose Academy pupil, said: “It was really hard for me at first. It was horrible in fact. My mum was going through a tough time and I had to leave.

“I slept at a friend’s house for months and months and rang hostels around Carlisle but there were no spaces. I eventually got a room in the city centre which is where I am now.”

Carlisle Key, based on Fisher Street, has been especially impressed that Jodie has been able to give other young people advice and has been a role model for other young people.

Since she became homeless she has kept herself in education, is completing courses with Nacro and she is in part-time employment.

She has shown high levels of maturity and has been a great tenant in her supported accommodation.

Jodie said: “It feels really good knowing I’m Young Person of the Year, through what I’ve achieved over the past two years. It’s been an emotional time but I am happy and grateful for everybody’s help.

“Without Carlisle Key’s support I don’t know where I would have ended up.

“I’ve just completed my level 2 in reading and writing and I’m going on to do my maths. Because of the trouble I had I didn’t go to school a lot so I am doing my qualifications now.

“I’m working almost full time cleaning for a cleaning firm.”

Jodie is now determined to become a care worker and find her own long-term accommodation.

She said: “My advice to anyone who finds themselves in a situation like mine is to never give up. Don’t go downhill, try and be positive. It will get better.

“I’ve proved a lot of people wrong. They said I wouldn’t last doing what I did but look at me now. I’ve got through it and I’m determined to continue.”

Clare Warwick, chief executive of Carlisle Key, said: “It is wonderful to see a young person so determined to make positive life choices and to help others along the way.

“We are privileged to be able to work with so many great young people and we hope that Jodie is very proud of all her achievements.”

And Jodie had some words about Carlisle Key.

She said: “The charity is amazing. Without them I don’t know what I would have done.”

Carlisle Key has this week applied for change of use planning for 5, Compton Street in Carlisle.

The current use of the building is for bedsits. The charity wants to use the property for 16 to 25-year-olds.