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Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change (CN4C) helps Gill set up a business and create a more secure future for herself

When Go West Grooming in Kehelland near Camborne first opened its doors a few weeks ago, it represented a new way of life and a bright future for Gill Whitby. After a year of planning, lots of hard work and practical help from Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change (CN4C), she is now running her own dog grooming business.

Gill had been a dog groomer for many years in the Midlands and had gone on to work in Animal Nursing and Animal Welfare. At the age of 42 she moved to Cornwall where she cared for her elderly mother until she died in 2003. Gill was approaching 50 and needed to find a job. She started teaching dog grooming part-time, but financially this was not enough to meet her needs so she decided to put her skills into practice and go self-employed.

Gill was referred to the CN4C Pathways to Employment programme by her local Jobcentre. The Pathways adviser was able to access funding for her to go on a health and safety course to update her skills and to source a state of the art hydraulic grooming table.

Gill explained: "One of the biggest health hazards encountered by dog groomers is back strain. Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and weights and having an automatic table which can be adjusted to varying heights is essential in order to be able to work comfortably. At the push of a lever I can raise the table to groom a Chihuahua, or lower it to take an Afghan hound."

Much thought has been given to the internal decoration of Go West Grooming. To safeguard the welfare of the dogs and to maintain the highest standards of hygiene, the walls of the parlour have been clad with a washable covering so they can be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

On arrival, client details are taken and requirements discussed. Each dog has a general health check before Gill starts the grooming procedure. This includes bathing, drying and styling. The average time to groom a dog is about 2 hours, depending on the breed.

Gill continued: "Thanks to CN4C, the business is up and running far sooner than I expected. I now feel that my future is secure. I still have my part-time teaching work, but I also wanted something which could continue to provide me with an income into retirement and maybe beyond. Self-employment was definitely the answer, but I needed a bit of help to put it all together. I'm in control of my own life now and I'm loving every minute."

For further information please call Barbara Smith, PR adviser on 01736 786421.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Neighbourhood Pathways, employment programmes delivered by CN4C and run in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, through the European Social Fund (ESF).


Editor's notes:

Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change (CN4C) is a community-based regeneration company working with some of the most deprived communities in Cornwall, and building bridges into the wider community.

Neighbourhood Pathways employment programmes are delivered by CN4C, run in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, and financed by Jobcentre Plus and the European Social Fund through the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Objective One Programme.


Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

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