Helen Barrett Bright Ideas: Sophie’s dog grooming business

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Sophie, 30, from Doncaster is using the HBBI award to launch her own dog grooming salon

I was diagnosed with CF when I was born. I was born in May, but didn’t leave the hospital until July, after two operations on my bowel. And then when I was 15, I spent a year in hospital. I had everything wrong with me. I had part of my bowel removed, heart failure, lung failure, kidney dialysis, a tracheostomy. I was in the ICU for 59 days in a coma.Sophie and dog

So obviously growing up, CF had a big impact on my life. I didn’t do my GCSEs, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career. I worked, but hopped between all sorts of jobs, not really taking to any of them. I was in between jobs when my dog, Blackjack, was injured by a groomer. So I decided to learn how to do it myself. And it turned out I was really good at it, and I really loved it.

Taking my business to the next level

I applied for the Helen Barrett Bright Ideas Awards because I wanted to take my business to the next level. I needed somewhere to get it set up and to purchase new equipment. The social workers at the hospital told me about the awards because I’d asked if there was any help I could get.

When I got the call to say that I’d been chosen as a winner, I asked them if they were joking! It was amazing. I really didn’t think I’d win.

I’ve used the money to build my own salon in my mum’s back garden. My partner is really happy that the Trust has supported me with my goals –even though he’s the one who’s had to build my salon for me! But it’s taken it from being a hobby to being a business.dog

In the future, I want to continue building my business by doing lots of different things. I’m doing a canine nutritionist course at the minute, and I want to do a microchipping course. Then I can offer more services. Eventually, I’d love to teach dog grooming skills to others, and open my own training academy.

Cystic fibrosis doesn’t stop me doing anything –and it never will

I’d probably have never been like I am without my mum. She's absolutely amazing, she’s kept me so well all my life.

I’m a free spirit really. To me, a life unlimited means being able to do exactly what I want, when I want. Cystic fibrosis doesn’t stop me doing anything, and it never will. If I want to do something, I’ll do it. However long it takes, I’ll do it. I’m a very determined person!

You can check out Poppy Dogs Pet Spa on Facebook.


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic condition which causes sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive system. It affects more than 10,800 people in the UK. One in 25 of us carries the faulty gene that causes it, usually without knowing. 

The Helen Barrett Bright Ideas Awards are available for anyone with CF over the age of 18 to help support your dream career or hobby. Whatever you need to make your lightbulb moment a reality, a Helen Barrett Bright Ideas Award can help you on your way.

Kickstart your dream career

Caitlin

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