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How a resilient young woman from Stockport went from illness to business success

Laura has overcome several challenges in her life to win a prestigious Prince’s Trust Award
Prince’s Trust Award

Laura, 25, from Stockport has won a prestigious national Prince’s Trust Award.

She scooped the NatWest Enterprise Award which recognises a young person who has overcome barriers to create their own sustainable business or social enterprise through The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme.​

The Prince’s Trust Award

Prince’s Trust Award
The winners of this year’s Prince’s Trust awards

Laura attended a reception at Buckingham Palace yesterday to meet His Majesty The King, Founder of The Prince’s Trust, who congratulated the award winners on their achievements

Laura was honoured earlier this week at the star-studded awards ceremony, hosted by Ant and Dec, and attended by many celebrity supporters and Ambassadors of the youth charity.

She was presented with her award by Ellie Simmonds and Tasha Ghouri.

Laura’s story

Laura fell ill with chronic fatigue syndrome when she was 19 years old. Six months later, she was also diagnosed with autism.

Due to her ill health Laura was unable to pursue her dream course at veterinary college.

However, a golden retriever puppy called Summer changed everything. Using her knowledge of animals, she decided to train Summer to be an assistance dog to help her with her condition.

Noticing that there weren’t many opportunities for people with similar conditions to access assistance dogs, Laura came up with the idea for her business, Wild Spirit Canines.

She got in touch with The Prince’s Trust and took part in the Enterprise programme. Soon after, set up her business training assistance dogs for people with physical and learning disabilities.

Laura has trained over 600 assistance dogs across the UK and employs three people, all of whom have assistance dogs and disabilities.

To support the growth of her business Laura relocated to Wales and now, alongside dog assistance training, she offers grooming and dog boarding.

Her community interest company, Wild Spirit Canines, is one of the only organisations that trains assistance dogs for people with all disabilities, specialising in multipurpose assistance dogs.

You can check out her website by clicking here

You can watch Laura’s case study video below

The Prince’s Trust honour and celebrate the successes of those who have been helped by The Trust, and those who support them, in the UK and around the world.

The Awards shines a light on the inspirational stories of young people, volunteers and those who support their wider communities.

It showcases the impact of The Trust’s work in building the confidence and skills needed to get into a job, education, training or self-employment.

Many of the winners have overcome significant barriers to transform their lives and build brighter futures for themselves and their communities.

The Natwest Enterprise Award

Prince’s Trust Award
Laura onstage – with Tasha Ghouri, Ellie Simmonds and Franklin Asante (Head of Entrepreneurs at Coutts, NatWest Group)

On winning the NatWest Enterprise Award, Laura said: “Winning the NatWest Enterprise Award feels wonderful! I’m so grateful to have so many opportunities through The Prince’s Trust that have enabled me to share my story and amplify the importance of assistance dogs.”

Franklin Asante, Head of Entrepreneurs at Coutts, part of NatWest Group said: “Congratulations to Laura on her win. It is great to see Laura thrive with such great purpose having overcome so many challenges as a young entrepreneur – a truly deserving winner!”

Tasha Ghouri, TV personality, said: “It’s a real honour to be presenting Laura with the NatWest Enterprise Award.

“She continues to give back to the community through her work with assistance dogs and doesn’t let anything hold her back. She is truly an inspiration to other young people out there.”

Former British Paralympian swimmer, Ellie Simmonds OBE said: “Building on her own experience, Laura created a thriving business servicing the community. Her achievements are truly incredible. Huge congratulations on winning the Enterprise Award, Laura!”
In March, Laura was showing her Curly Coated Retriever Ember at Crufts and was invited to an interview about the vulnerable breed with presenter Sophie Morgan. At the end of the interview, Sophie revealed that Laura was the national NatWest Enterprise Award winner.

For ten years, TK Maxx and Homesense have been a partner of The Prince’s Trust helping over 5,500 young people with education, training, and employment opportunities, empowering them with the skills and confidence for a brighter future. They are one of The Trust’s largest delivery partners of the Get into Retail programme.

This is a two-to-six-week course that develops young people’s skills in the retail sector and supports them into positive outcomes in retail. Since the partnership began, over 70% of young people who have taken the course went on to fulltime employment at TK Maxx or Homesense.

Youth charity The Prince’s Trust gives young people the skills and confidence to get their lives on track.

Three in four young people helped by The Prince’s Trust around the world move into work, training or education.

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