News

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  • 28 Mar 2021 2:58 PM | BIGA Chair (Administrator)

    Look out Mark Zuckerberg, BIGA Voice is about to eat your lunch.

    Members of the British Isles Grooming Association, BIGA, now have the ability to seek specialist advice within the BIGA Voice discussion forums on the member website.

    BIGA is thrilled to launch our new Professional Advisor forums and very pleased to welcome our specialist advisors. Members can simply log into the forum and ask their pressing questions within a safe, professional and courteous discussion board.


    BIGA's New Voices

    The newly launched forums and their respective advisors are:

    • Ask The Vet – with veterinarian and pet groomer, Sophie Bell.
    • Ask The Behaviourist – with certified animal behaviourist Andrew Hale.
    • Ask The Business Advisor – with experienced pet grooming business owner, Bill Betts.
    • Ask The Accountant – with accountant and finance specialist, Vicky Clark.
    • Ask The Groomer – with experienced pet groomer and instructor, Debby Knight.
    • Ask The HR Consultant - with HR consultancy business owner, Megan Saint.



    “Dog groomers are an extra pair of eyes and often spot things that the owner does not,” explains vet and groomer Sophie Bell (pictured). 


    Behaviourist Andrew Hale echoes Sophie’s comments above: “being on the front line, the groomer may well see the dog more than any other care professional.”

    As a trade association, BIGA is committed to helping pet groomers develop and sustain their businesses and incorporate best-practice – not just within animal welfare, but across all business considerations. 

    “I have learnt the hard way how to make a successful business out of grooming other people’s pets,” offers business advisor Bill Betts.

    Likewise, accountant Vicky Clark, who has worked directly with pet groomers develop a business from the garden shed into multiple salons, says “I want to help the members of BIGA get off on the right foot and grow a professional business.”

    Experienced groomer and instructor Debby Knight takes on the role for Ask The Groomer and is excited to share her experience in grooming and training. “My door is always open to both new and experienced groomers,” she says, adding that she is committed to helping improve the professionalism of all groomers.

    Human Resources Consultancy business owner Megan Saint contributes, "I have experience in working with several dog grooming businesses and believe that the industry could benefit from increased awareness of employment law and HR practices." 


    Start With Kindness

    BIGA’s chair, Kristian Maris, explains that running a business on your own can be isolating, and it’s difficult knowing what to do and where to turn. Turning to Facebook is helpful for many but can also be intimidating for fear of ridicule. “Recent months have shown this is not social media’s finest hour” says Kristian. 

    The BIGA discussion boards, by comparison, are a safe place for knowledge-sharing. "The Advisors are giving so generously of their time and expertise, and welcome questions at all levels."

    “The starting point is kindness,” adds BIGA Director Heidi Anderton. “This has always been the spirit of BIGA and why it has attracted like-minded members to help grow and establish a trade association for pet groomers that is also an essential community support network within our industry.”

    To learn more about BIGA's new voices, please click here


  • 23 Mar 2021 4:19 PM | BIGA Chair (Administrator)

    Update from CFSG - The Covid Exit Plan for England

    From the target date 29th March 2021, Groomers may undertake all grooming by appointment. Care should be taken to ensure COVID security when the pet is admitted or returned.

    Please see below and follow the link for full details;

    https://www.cfsg.org.uk/coronavirus/ 

    Go to: Business Guidance England - Steps out of lockdown March 2021

    Advice for Wales, Scotland and N Ireland avail at the link above.

    The rules are unchanged for the pet industry and the restrictions in place for lockdown remain.

    Step 1B (target, but no earlier than 29th March)

    • All activities requiring contact with the public should continue to be by appointment only so that only one person (household or support bubble) is on the premises at any time.
    • Handover of animals should continue to follow the protocol and take place where possible outdoors.
    • Training classes organised by a business, charity, public body or similar may take place for either up to six people or from two households in any place outdoors. The organisation should ensure the activity takes place in a COVID-secure manner to ensure there is no mixing. Trainer and clients should wear face coverings and maintain social distance.
    • Groomers may undertake all grooming by appointment. Care should be taken to ensure COVID security when the pet is admitted or returned.
    • Puppies or kittens may be collected from the breeder at a private home with the handover outdoors. Where the pet is bred at a commercial premises handover may take place indoors in a COVID-secure manner wearing facecovering and maintaining social distance. Viewing prior to purchase should continue remotely.
    • Adopters may attend a re-homing centre to collect an animal as a single household or support bubble. Where the re-homing organisation is not a private home, handover may take place indoors in a COVID-secure manner wearing facecovering and maintaining social distance. Otherwise handover should take place outside.

    When appropriate a dog may be taken by the re-homing organisation to a home to meet an existing dog outside.

    • A person relinquishing a pet may visit a re-homing centre to do so by appointment but must hand over the pet outside if the centre is a private home. Otherwise handover may take place inside in a COVID-secure manner wearing facecovering and maintaining social distance.
    • Boarding establishments were permitted to accept unvaccinated animals in the light of restricted availability of veterinary services. Establishments must now require animals to be vaccinated prior to boarding as if in normal circumstances.


    Step 2 (target, but no earlier than 12th April)

    • All activities requiring contact with the public should continue to be by appointment only so that numbers are limited following a risk assessment to maintain

    COVID-security to prevent indoor mixing of different households.

    • Handover of animals should continue to follow the protocol and take place where possible outdoors.
    • Adopters may attend a re-homing centre to meet an animal by appointment. Where the re-homing organisation is not a private home, the meeting may take place indoors in a COVID-secure manner wearing facecovering and maintaining social distance. Otherwise the meeting should take place outside.
    • Training classes may take place for either up to six people or from two households in any place outdoors except a private dwelling. Where the training is organised by a business, charity, public body or similar, and there has been a risk assessment larger groups are permitted commensurate with the venue. The organisation should ensure the activity takes place in a COVID-secure manner to ensure there is no mixing. Trainer and clients should wear face coverings and maintain social distance and hand washing after handling dogs is advised.
    • Grooming should follow guidance for non-essential retail.
    • COVID restrictions on dog walkers cease.

    Step 3 (target, but no earlier than 17th May)

    • Numbers should be limited following a risk assessment to maintain COVID-security to prevent indoor mixing of more than six people or two households or bubbles.
    • Handover of animals may take place indoors by appointment with up to six people or from two households or support bubble.
    • Training classes may take place for either up to six people or from two households in any place indoors except a private dwelling or outdoors for up to 30 people.

    Where the training is organised by a business, charity, public body or similar, and there has been a risk assessment larger groups are permitted commensurate with the venue. The organisation should ensure the activity takes place in a COVID-secure manner to ensure there is no mixing. Trainer and clients should wear face coverings and maintain social distance and hand washing after handling dogs is advised.

    • Breeders may allow in-person viewing of puppies and kittens from up to six people or two household or support bubbles
    • Purchasers may collect a pet indoors from a private dwelling by appointment for up to six people or two households or support bubbles.
    • Adopters may collect an animal from a rehoming centre indoors in a COVID-secure manner.

    Step 4 (target, but no earlier than 21st June)

    • All restrictions removed. The use of appointments and face coverings is likely to continue to be advised.

    --

    BIGA is an associate member of the Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) which advises Defra (the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs). Defra in turn works with Public Health England (an advisory group to the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government) to determine central government's guidance for pet professionals. If you need to reach out with any concerns, you are welcome to contact BIGA by email on hello@mybiga.org.


  • 04 Feb 2021 6:58 PM | BIGA Chair (Administrator)

    After three weeks into lockdown, pet welfare issues are becoming more prevalent. As promised, the team at BIGA have continued to press for answers from government to help safeguard the welfare of our pets. For those of you who participated in our online poll, you likewise expressed in the majority that this was of the highest priority.

    We have consulted Chris Laurence, Chairman of The Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) (the group that advises defra and is instrumental in the shaping of guidelines around national lockdown in England) who supports the following statement (links to guidance for the devolved nations available below):

    --

    The updated government guidance from 11.Jan.2021 for pet grooming has not changed. It states that grooming should be put off at this time wherever possible to help stop non-essential journeys and stop the spread of covid.

    The guidance sets out that in the current lockdown, 'business as usual' is not allowed, but that grooming for welfare reasons is.

    However, the number of clients that will now be falling into the welfare categories are bound to be increasing because of time, weather and circumstances.

    We must advise you to use your professional integrity and training to assess each pet's needs in conjunction with the owner. We suggest the completion and retaining of full documentation of all grooming undertaken (eg. a signed customer declaration and images). 

    Dogs which need grooming that cannot be put off may be groomed due to their coats requiring immediate attention to prevent a worsening coat condition; overgrown and uncomfortable nails; hygiene areas requiring attention; hair and debris build-up in front of eyes. No animal needs to have its welfare compromised by waiting until it is badly matted.

    --

    To find the full details from the CSFG, please click on the link below:

    https://www.cfsg.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/11th-January-2021-Pet-Business-Guidance-COVID-19.pdf

     To find out guidance for the following nations, please click on the link below:

    https://www.cfsg.org.uk/coronavirus/ 


    Our commitment to you

    BIGA are committed to providing information, advice and guidance to groomers. All directors are working hard to find out what options are available to support businesses financially. We will also be providing support for possible documentation that should be recorded for essential grooming. Any information will be posted on the BIGA website, Facebook page and emailed to members.

    We hope these guidance measures will be temporary and we will endeavour to provide updates as and when we receive it.

    If your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) you may be able to get:

    • Money to help with living costs
    • Help getting food and other essentials
    • Support for your business


    Please click on the link below to find out more:

    https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-local-help


    Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.


  • 12 Jan 2021 10:01 PM | BIGA Chair (Administrator)


    Following the latest guidance from the CSFG for ENGLAND dated 12/01/2021 it states the following (links to guidance for Wales, Scotland and N Ireland further down):

    ‘Groomers may accept a dog to be groomed by appointment where this is necessary for the animal’s welfare and not simply for aesthetic reasons. Welfare reasons could include on veterinary advice for a skin condition or excessive matting causing the pet discomfort. When routine grooming can be delayed without affecting the pet’s welfare until the national lockdown is eased it should be put off. 

    The necessity for an appointment is to ensure social distancing between clients. If dogs are brought to site owners should remain in their vehicles until staff are ready to accept their dog. The business handover protocol set out by CFSG should be followed and should take place in an outdoor space large enough for the client and staff to maintain their social distance. 

    Multiple dogs may be taken in at a time where a grooming salon has sufficient space to separate them and for groomers to maintain social distancing whilst working (2m should be adhered to). Admission and return of dogs must be by appointment only to ensure social distancing where the reception area is large enough to do so. 

    Groomers can collect dogs from client’s homes to undertake grooms for the animal’s welfare and not simply for aesthetic reasons. Welfare reasons could include on veterinary advice for a skin condition or excessive matting causing the pet discomfort as long as they can disinfect their vehicle between collections. Pets from infected or self-isolating households should be collected separately from other dogs in different journeys and after pets from other non-infected households. Groomers should assess whether the grooming can be delayed until the household is clear to reduce the risk to themselves and their staff. Social distancing should be maintained at all times and business handover protocol set out by CFSG should be followed with the owner retaining all equipment such as leads. 

    Mobile groomers and home groomers may continue to operate to undertake grooms for the animal’s welfare and not simply for aesthetic reasons. Welfare reasons could include on veterinary advice for a skin condition or excessive matting causing the pet discomfort providing that they can maintain social distancing. Mobile groomers should follow the business handover protocol set out by CFSG, with the owner retaining all equipment such as leads. The grooming facility must be thoroughly disinfected between pets. Home groomers should follow the Government guidance on those working in other people’s homes. They should not visit an infected or self-isolating household. All equipment must be disinfected between each home visit.’

    It is vital that everyone contributes to staying safe, protecting others and helps to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Pet Groomers may still support their clients by giving professional advice to owners to maintain their pet’s welfare by grooming from home or providing professional grooming services with Covid-19 protocols for grooms that considered to be essential to the dog’s welfare.

    To find the full details from the CSFG, please click on the link below:

    https://www.cfsg.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/11th-January-2021-Pet-Business-Guidance-COVID-19.pdf

     To find out guidance for the following nations, please click on the link below:

    https://www.cfsg.org.uk/coronavirus/ 

    Our commitment to you

    BIGA are committed to providing information, advice and guidance to groomers. All directors are working hard to find out what options are available to support businesses financially. We will also be providing support for possible documentation that should be recorded for essential grooming. Any information will be posted on the BIGA website, Facebook page and emailed to members.

    We hope these guidance measures will be temporary and we will endeavour to provide updates as and when we receive it.

    If your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) you may be able to get:

    • Money to help with living costs
    • Help getting food and other essentials
    • Support for your business


    Please click on the link below to find out more:

    https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-local-help


    Let’s support each other and stay professional!


    Stay safe, stay at home and help stop the spread of Covid-19


  • 02 Nov 2020 1:10 PM | BIGA Chair (Administrator)

    UPDATE 5-NOV-2020

    England is to start a national four-week Lockdown on Thurs 5-Nov.

    The Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG), the body advising the Govt (Defra) has updated its guidance to pet groomers. 

    Please follow this link:

    https://www.cfsg.org.uk/coronavirus/


    The Guidance is issued by the CFSG approved by Defra and Public Health England (PHE).

    Public Health England is an agency of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the ministry that oversees Councils.


    See also the following guidance on GOV.UK which states the following:

    • Veterinary surgeons, animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and pet shops. Animal grooming facilities may also stay open but must only be used for the purposes of the animal’s welfare (and not for aesthetic purposes).

    source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/closing-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england?fbclid=IwAR0reMXDaP2_wxlrMZ7KMHqDYJs6VN7KUFn_9UJb3KRlXUUz-n0Cglwj6q8


    Download and Print this document for your business

    For pet groomers in England, you are also welcome to download the attached document here to print and display in your shop if somebody questions on what authority you are open. To access, click here.

    Or click on the pdf logo



                                                


            .  





  • 23 Jul 2020 3:18 PM | BIGA Chair (Administrator)

    Watch the Competition FREE!!


    PremierGroom is taking place online, streaming live via Facebook, Sunday August 2nd.


    And there are WEBINARS! Make sure to enter the discount code biga25 for a 25% discount off the normal price.


    Thank you in advance for supporting PremierGroom, among the industry's long-standing exciting events sharing knowledge, improving skills and raising money for Groom Team England!




  • 12 May 2020 4:15 PM | BIGA Chair (Administrator)

    In the Prime Minister's address to the nations of the United Kingdom on Sunday 10-May-2020, he indicated the government would begin to ease restrictions to the Lockdown. This advice may be subject to interpretation by the devolved nations Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    The updated advice (11-May-2020) for pet businesses is available to view on the website of the Canine and Feline Sector Group at www.cfsg.org.uk. Click here.

    Please click on the left-hand margin for the link to 'Coronavirus' to access.

    For more information about previous advice and BIGA's reporting of guidance from government, please refer to our earlier post from Tues 7-Apr-2020. Click here.

  • 25 Apr 2020 2:53 PM | BIGA Chair (Administrator)

    Social media has been on fire for weeks with anxious groomers asking whether they should be open, or remain closed, during the Covid-19 Lockdown.


    From the morning after the Prime Minister’s address on March 23rd, BIGA has actively sought to share with its members, and the community of pet grooming professionals, the latest and most legitimate advice from Government regarding pet groomers.



    At first, a number of shops and services were identified as Essential and could remain open during Lockdown. Pet grooming was not listed among them. However, pet 'shops' (retail) were allowed to remain open for the sale of ‘food and other necessary goods’.




    Thereafter followed a flurry of questions. Are pet groomers Essential or Non-Essential? Surely a dog’s coat should not be neglected? What does the Government mean, exactly, by ‘working from home’? Which Government department needs to provide this clarity? And ‘Who’ exactly IS ‘the Government’?



    Trading Standards gave its view – which differed between regions. Local Authorities came out with their recommendations. Also inconsistently. One Member of Parliament would say Yes, another MP would say No.



    With so much conflicting information, it was, indeed, impossible to tell groomers exactly what they needed to hear. There was no unified position from ‘Government’ about whether or not groomers should open or remain closed.




    The Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) is the industry advisory body to the Government department, Defra (the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs) and deals directly with the Animal and Plant Health Agency, an executive agency of Defra.




    The CFSG is the closest representative of the pet grooming industry to central Government. And BIGA is an Associate Member of the CFSG (most of our interaction with the CFSG normally involves discussions around regulation).




    By Tuesday the 7th of April, after hearing inputs from BIGA as well as the Pet Industry Federation (PIF), the CFSG – in consultation with the APHA, as well as the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England (AHWBE) – published its guidance for pet professionals, including pet groomers. The link is available at the bottom of this article (go to the CFSG website and click on the link for 'Coronavirus').



    BIGA dutifully shared this guidance with our members and the pet grooming community. We said from the start that we would abide by the following premise throughout the crisis: Follow all government advice. Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.




    Whether or not you agree with the guidance from the CFSG (which is subject to unannounced revisions so it is worth checking the link daily) and choose to open or stay closed is an informed decision for you to take, considering the safety requirements, financial viability and animal welfare. In the meantime, BIGA is pulling together information and guidance for how groomers can best meet the safety protocols in their businesses as Lockdown restrictions are lifted.


    Click here for the advice from CFSG. See also the preceding news article on BIGA's News Page.



  • 24 Mar 2020 11:00 AM | BIGA Chair (Administrator)

    Last updated Tuesday 7-Apr-2020


    BIGA would like to inform our members and the community of UK professional pet groomers of the updated guidance we have received today from the Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG), the industry advisory body to Defra (the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs).

    This guidance was issued today Tues 7-Apr-2020. Click here. 

    [edit: the link takes you to the CFSG website. Click on the link along the left-hand margin for 'Coronavirus' for the most up-to-date information from the CFSG]

    To be clear, this is the guidance from the CFSG on behalf of the Government. It is not issued by BIGA.

    Please read it carefully. Use your professional judgement on all health and safety issues. Be sure to follow all safety protocols.

    If you have questions or require clarification, please contact

    customeradvice@apha.gov.uk.

    This is a hugely divisive issue in a very challenging time for our country. Please stay safe and remember to treat all other groomers with professional courtesy. 

    Above all, continue to follow all government advice.

    Stay at Home. Protect our NHS. Save Lives.


    * The links are listed for you where you can read more from all the relevant bodies.

    We will do our best to keep you all up to date with any changes in advice.


    Recommended Articles and sources of credible information:


    1. World Health Organization - Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak


    2. Federation of Small Businesses

    Advice and Guidance for Small Businesses and the Self-Employed


    3. British Veterinary Association - updates for the veterinary profession


    4. GOV.UK Advice: Further Businesses and Premises to close


    5. GOV.UK Advice: COVID-19: Support for businesses


    6. Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis Advice - Coronavirus Financial Help & Rights


    7. GOV.UK Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for people with animals


    8. Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) - Advice for Animal-Related Businesses and Local Authorities

    [edit: this takes you to the CFSG webiste. Click on the link for Coronavirus located along the left-hand margin of the site]

    Coronavirus and animals

    According to the OIE, the current spread of Covid-19 is a result of human to human transmission, and, to date, there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the disease. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.

    Current evidence suggests Covid-19 has an animal source but this remains under investigation. Vets should continue to take the usual precautions when handling animals and animal products in line with good biosecurity protocols.

    On 1 March it was reported that a Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong had tested positive for Covid-19 and further testing, including gene sequencing, suggests that the dog has a low-level of infection and that this is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission. The dog has not shown any clinical signs of disease. A blood test has also been carried out and has come back negative, indicating that there are no measurable amounts of antibodies in the blood at this stage. This does not rule out infection. The OIE states that

    “There is no evidence that dogs play a role in the spread of this human disease or that they become sick.

    Advice of owners who are self isolating or suffering with coronavirus
    If a pet is in the household of an infected person Defra is advising pet owners to limit contact with their pets and to phone their vet in an emergency.

    We are expecting advice from DEFRA but currently this is BVA Advice

    • Remind all owners not to bring their pets to a groomer or surgery if they are self-isolating because of suspected or confirmed Covid-19 infection.
    • If the pet requires vet attention owners need to nominate a friend/family member from outside their home to bring the animal to your practice (there is no expectation that vets will undertake home visits when it’s not safe to do so);
    • In emergency owners must phone the vet before attending any surgery they will set up isolation procedure and prepare for safe examination of your pet


  • 31 Jan 2020 1:19 PM | BIGA Chair (Administrator)


     

    BIGA Director Heidi Anderton with a message for the New Year

    Last year the grooming calendar ended with the BIGA Show, a huge thank you to all who attended, the demonstrators, speakers, volunteers and stand holders. I hope you had a great day like I did. The hall was filled with trade stands and the feedback has been really encouraging that you want the show to continue for another year.

    www.mybiga.org and if you are a member, there is a member only area.
     

    BIGA invites you to become involved, make new friends and advance your career. We are here to help each other, that’s what makes an association, like-minded people.

    Your ideas, input and experiences will help BIGA to grow. So, whether you are a new or experienced groomer, don’t be shy, if you have ideas and free time and can participate and do something for your grooming association, please send us an email to hello@mybiga.org

    This year we aim to finalise the Guidelines for Groomers, streamline the aim of BIGA and grow the member benefits. As well as getting the BIGA show ready for next year which will be held at the kennel Club Building, Stoneleigh on the 1st November.

    Happy New year

    Heidi Anderton LCGI ICMG

    BIGA Director


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The British Isles Grooming Association (BIGA)

A Not-for-Profit Trade Association and Community Support Network

 Registered at St. George’s House, 14 George Street, Huntingdon, Cambs. PE29 3GH. Reg. No. 10085801

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