Ex-foster child starts Sherri's Pampered Petz dog grooming business in Plymouth after a loan from Prince's Trust
A FORMER foster child has opened a pet grooming parlour in Plymouth with help from the Prince's Trust.
Young entrepreneur Sherri Rayner, aged 21, secured a small business loan and grant from the youth charity, which is among the exhibitors at The Herald's Get Hired Expo on March 15, enabling her to open Sherri's Pampered Petz, on Albert Road, in Devonport.
The parlour offers grooming services including dog haircuts, baths, teeth brushing and treats.
"Opening my parlour is a goal I've spent the past two years working towards," said Ms Rayner.
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"I used to work from home and have got 100 furry regulars that always leave with their tails wagging.
"Moving to new premises means I have better facilities and equipment to grow the business and fulfil my dreams."
Ms Rayner went on the Prince's Trust's Enterprise programme, which provides young people with a business mentor, support and funding to set up and run their own business.
This was having been in care with Core Assets Fostering at the age of 12.
"Being a looked-after child has never held me back in life, it's provided me with opportunities, drive and determination," she said.
"I've seen how life can be and it's made me realise I can make something of myself.
"It's also helped me to see that I am a caring person, and that's why I enjoy looking after animals and making sure they are kept healthy and happy.
"I've got a 10-year plan here in Plymouth, and I hope to grow my business, offer jobs to other young people and support my little boy, Dylan.
"I would say to anyone who has left care, and young people in general, to never give up, take advantage of the help out there and just go for it.
"Don't let your past hold you back, keep looking forward and work hard at what you love."
Lynn Turner, a Core Assets Fostering support worker, said: "We are proud of Sherri. She is a fantastic example of what a young care-leaver can achieve, and her success is testament to the support she has received and her inner strength and enthusiasm."
The Prince's Trust helps disadvantaged young people to get their lives on track. Three in four young people supported by The Prince's Trust move into work, education or training.
The organisation will be at the Herald's free-to-enter Get Hired Expo, alongside other top firms, trainers and organisations, at the Guildhall, from 10am to 7pm on Friday, March 15.