A WOMAN from Somerset is a finalist in The Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense awards.

These national awards recognise those young people who have overcome barriers and created a sustainable business or social enterprise.

Rebecca Wilshere, who faced a lot of mental health challenges when she was younger, created her own company - Two Dogs & Co - a now successful and thriving business.

Ms Wilshere, from Saltford, Somerset, suffered from anxiety, after moving schools regularly as a child.

After being home schooled, she achieved four GCSE's but did not have much social contact, and her anxiety stopped her from going to college.

“I never knew what I wanted to do, I had no thoughts further than getting through the day,” she said.

After the family got a dog, Ms Wilshere began to make rope leads for her dog and family friends.

She then signed up for The Prince's Trust Enterprise programme and created her own business.

“Everyone at the Trust believed in me and before, I didn’t have a lot of that," Ms Wilshere added.

"I wasn't sure what I was going to do with my life prior to starting my business, I didn't have any aspirations.

"But it has given me a purpose, helped my mental health and provided me with a job.”

Somerset County Gazette: Rebecca Wilshere

Two Dogs & Co now sells dog collars, camera straps and poo bag dispenser.

The company is now selling products around the world - not just in the UK, and will have a turnover of £50,000 this year, just three years after it launched.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Ms Wilshere made masks and sold more than 1,000 in one week.

The winners of The Prince’s Trust and TKMaxx & Homesense Awards will be announced in the next few months.

Greenlees, President of TJX Europe said: “We’re delighted and very proud to continue to partner with The Prince’s Trust to sponsor these awards, and to recognise those young people who, with the help of the Trust, have beaten the odds to turn their lives around.

"We’re humbled by their achievement and grateful for the opportunity to share in their celebration."

Ms Wilshere is now a young ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and is part of the Bristol Youth Panel.