Prince's Trust helps Cheltenham woman find happiness and hope
THE importance of a happy family life continues to motivate a Cheltenham mum who turned her life around.
Laura Allen was determined to make a better life for herself after she ended up living on the streets.
Even though she was homeless with no prospect of employment, she refused to give up and set her sights on a better future.
Her hard work paid off as the 30-year- old has now been nominated for a national Prince's Trust Award.
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Laura, from Battledown, Cheltenham went from homeless teen to entrepreneurial success with the help of The Prince's Trust.
She now runs her own sports therapy business called Restoration.
Laura said she left Cheltenham when she was 22 after her relationship with her family deteriorated. She moved to Oxfordshire and was homeless for three months.
She said: "I was homeless and I couldn't see a way out. I felt completely hopeless.
"My life had been turned upside down and I had to start from scratch. It was the lowest point of my life."
But Laura moved back to Cheltenham in 2004, where she spent her childhood, for a fresh start.
She said: "I had family in Cheltenham and I used to come down regularly. I love the town and the country around it. I have great childhood memories here."
She went to Gloucestershire College in 2008, and graduated a year later with a diploma in sports massage therapy.
She then launched her own business when juggling her responsibilities as a single mother to six-year-old son, Harry. She joined the charity's The Enterprise programme, which gave her a grant of £190 to work on an idea.
She generated £2,400 from the trial, and eventually set up her sports therapy business at Studio Fit, Leckhampton.
Laura puts her success down to rebuilding her relationship with her parents and having a supportive partner, Andrew Piercy.
She said: "Having a great family has enabled me to be happy and help me with my career.
"They have helped me to be able to do the things that I never thought I would be able to do. It is empowering."
Laura said she met Andrew in 2008, and the couple got together in 2011. She said: "He is just an incredible person in my life. He has been very supportive, and done all he can to encourage me."
Laura will find out if she has won the RBS Enterprise Award at The Prince's Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards night in Bristol on Wednesday.