Kirsty Young

Fe College

East Riding College


Hull University

HKF Award Year


Now works as

Learning Support Advisor

Kirsty was awarded a Helena Kennedy Foundation Bursary in 2011.

Kirsty was a victim of child grooming from the age of 14, where she had been introduced to a much older man, 12 years her senior; through a work experience placement. She spent the next five years being isolated from her family and friends. She was by herself living with the perpetrator age 16. She suffered domestic and sexual violence. For the next four years she had no contact with the outside world. She became pregnant with her first child when she was sixteen. 

By the time she was eighteen she had two children and was pregnant for the third time at nineteen and found herself facing homelessness, due to the financial abuse she had suffered. Luckily her family who she had not seen in four years found out about her situation; and she was re-introduced back to her family. However, by this time she had suffered so much abuse, she was suicidal and was suffering de-personalisation disorder and was on the anorexic scale.

Once she had moved home her mum encouraged her to join college. However, she was unable to make eye contact with anyone, had very little confidence and no self-worth. In 2006 she moved to her own home under police protection. In 2007 she joined East Riding College and did Level one in Health and Social Care. During her time at East Riding College she learned how to communicate with others and gained some self-confidence.

After completing Level one, she went onto Level two in Health and Social Care and completed this with grade Distinction Star. It was at this point her tutor told her she was capable of the Level 3. In 2010 she started the Level 3 National Diploma in Health and Social Care and completed this course with Distinction. She decided she wanted to work with children, young people and families and to be able to support others.

She was accepted at Hull University for a degree course on Children’s Inter Professional Studies. The bursary helped her to purchase core text books. She also knew she had support at the end of the phone. She still had a young family to care for as a lone parent. She managed to graduate in 2014 with a 2:2 Bachelors of Art Degree. Following her degree she worked within a family residential assessment support unit, supporting families and children going through child care and safeguarding proceedings. The families would live in for three months undertaking their assessment. At the end a recommendation is made by the assessor whether the family should remain together or whether the children be placed in alternative care.

Since this time Kirsty made the brave decision to report all the crimes she suffered and this process has given her further life experiences. Currently she is back at East Riding College working as a Learning Support Advisor. She supports students within their studies to achieve the best they can. She fully believes education is where life chances can be created and education has so much influence on our well-being and our self-belief. In September 2020 she hopes to start on PGCE course with the aim of becoming a teacher of Health and Social Care. She hopes to inspire others to move on in their lives and achieve their chosen career pathway.