Teenage parents in the final of the Young People of the Year competition for Cambridgeshire

TEENAGE parents Sam Cliffe and Martin Hodson found love while growing up in care, and are about to discover if they have won a �1,000 top prize for the work they do with other disadvantaged youngsters.

The couple, who have just moved to a new home in Wisbech with their baby daughter Lexi, say they are determined to give her a better start in life than they had.

Sam, 18, and Martin, 17, met and fell in love when working at Just Us, a youth club for other young people in care. Sam says Martin makes her laugh, and is a great dad to their little girl.

Both are in the final of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary Young People of the Year competition, and are the first young parents to be nominated.

Sam is a lead trainer with the county council’s Respect Matters training, a course delivered by young people in care, to all front line staff, senior managers and councillors.

Martin, who has been in eight foster homes, is heavily involved in Just Us, and is also on the Voices Matters panel that meets with the chief executive of the county council and the lead councillor involved in shaping social care.

Caz Dunne, children’s participation manager with Cambridgeshire county council, nominated the pair for a YOPEY award.

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“They have had such a lot to deal with but they have both overcome so much,” she said. “They could have so easily gone down the wrong path. If I could bottle their attitude I would, and I’d give it to everyone.”

Caz said Sam dealt with news of her pregnancy in a “very mature and responsible manner, and says Martin is “the most gentle, friendly and supportive member of Just Us.”

The YOPEY awards ceremony is due to take place on Thursday July 15; other Fenland finalists include Fenzone, Youth Council in March; Daniel Rushton, 15, who won a skateboard park for Christchurch; 19-year-old Philip Taylor who runs two clubs in Benwick, and Sir Harry Smith Community College at Whittlesey for its fundraising.