Start up boost helps launch South West animal rehabilitation business

By Nick Batten on 5 December, 2023

Veterinary physiotherapists Tori Edwards and Hannah Topping have recently launched a new business offering highly specialist treatment packages for pets with a range of mobility problems in Wiltshire, Dorset and the surrounding areas.

Nadder Valley Animal Rehabilitation, based near Salisbury, has been up and running since August, thanks to support from the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme.

Tori and Hannah applied for the financial support when they came across an opportunity to take over an already successful rehabilitation centre that was up for sale.

The building in Dinton Business Park had a hydrotherapy pool used to help treat dogs with long-term conditions such as arthritis or neurological difficulties, as well as pets recovering from surgery.

(left to right) Hannah Topping and Tori Edwards

Tori and Hannah, who met while studying for their physiotherapy degrees, knew the well-established business (previously called Pet Waves) would be perfectly suited to their long-term career goals.

“They were advertising for a job and Hannah went to speak to the owner who said that she was thinking about selling,” said Tori, then working part-time as a hydrotherapist in Swindon while Hannah was running her pet grooming business.

“We had a chat about it and decided we could run the centre together,” added Tori. “We knew it was a successful business with clients already on the books. We thought we could really add something extra.”

Tori and Hannah were still studying at the time. Both passed their veterinary physiotherapy degrees with first-class honours and were working towards a master’s degree at the McTimoney College of Chiropractic.

Taking on a business was a big commitment but when they managed to secure financial support, they knew they could make it all work. They received £30,000 in total, after each applying for a separate Start Up Loan.

Tori continued, “We had to put together a detailed business plan when we applied for the loan which really helped us to concentrate on all the different areas and made us understand what we needed [to] do. Most of the loan was then used to buy the business and then the rest was used to help with the rebrand.”

Tori and Hannah have plans to introduce a special treadmill at the centre to help animals that can’t swim but benefit from being in the water. They also hope to build on their growing list of clients and hope that Nadder Valley will soon become a go-to centre for pet owners, both locally and nationally.

Tori added, “The Start Up Loans scheme is such a fantastic idea. There are so many bright ideas out there and people need help to be able to fund what they want to do. This scheme just allows everyone to chase their dreams.”

Start Up Loans is a government-backed programme from the British Business Bank, available to people looking to start or grow a business in the UK. It offers unsecured loans of up to £25,000 with a fixed interest rate of six per cent, repayable over one to five years. Successful applicants also receive 12 months of free mentoring to help them succeed.

The programme has loaned more than £1 billion to start-up businesses across the UK since being launched in 2012, with more than £85m going to over 9,000 start-ups in the South West. In Wiltshire, more than 900 local businesses have been loaned £9.5m since 2012.

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Pictured: (top of page) Tori Edwards in the hydrotherapy pool