A FORMER homeless person is calling on the public to cast their vote for a street football project which saw helped her turn her life around. 

Dee Sampson once endured years of sleeping on the streets, only to represent Wales at the Homeless World Cup in 2017 after becoming involved with the lottery-funded Kick Some Balls project.

The initiative has reached the finals of the National Lottery Awards, the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded projects, and Ms Sampson wants to see it win.

The 37-year-old, from Newport, said: “I’m an ex-addict, and I lost my house, my children - I lost everything really and I was on the streets at one point,” she said.

“I struggled to pull myself back up because I felt like a failure. 

“It was my fault I went to prison and that is how I lost my kids and my home. “I was really depressed and thought that I had destroyed my life.”

“But slowly, thanks to Kick Some Balls, the more training I was doing, the fitter I was getting and the more I was enjoying playing football. 

“Then the opportunity came to represent Wales in the Homeless World Cup in Oslo, Norway.”

Ms Sampson now counts film star Michael Sheen as a fan and a friend, having spent time with the Street Football Wales patron during the tournament.

Officially lauching the 2018 National Lottery Awards voting period, he said: “I have seen Dee’s life turn around. She’s gone through some really difficult experiences and some really complex challenges. To see her out on the pitch scoring her first goal for her country and seeing the effect it had on her was amazing.” 

To vote for the Kick Some Balls project , visit bit.ly/2ND80VD