Hair Together is a new social enterprise run by Tony O’Reilly (Grand Master Barber) and Gemma McCabe (Psychotherapist) and myself Eileen McHugh (KM Educator).
Hair Café Salon
8A Thundercut Alley
Smithfield, Dublin 7
All three of us grew up in Ballymun, a disadvantaged area in Dublin. Neither of us escaped easily and we’ve all had our individual battles with addiction. Thankfully we are all recovered now, well over 10 years and all doing really well! We got together to give back to the community and we’ve been volunteering years now in our different areas.
Hair Together was a solution to a problem in the area where youths as young as 14 were selling crack cocaine back in a local sports club I was involved with back in November 2018. It breaks my heart to see this is still an issue in the area since I was a kid back in the 80’s. As troubled as the area is, there is such an amazing community within, a community I’m so proud to be part of.
We developed a 10-week educational and personal development programme that utilises hairdressing and barbering to stimulate creativity and develop life skills. It’s an exciting new initiative which has received much praise within the hair industry. As well as learning key hairdressing and barbering skills, each week we incorporate different wellbeing practices, which are key to a happy, healthy mind. Our mission is to encourage personal creativity, imagination, invention, self motivation, positive risk taking in a supportive and encouraging environment while providing a platform for their individual expression and personal growth.
COVID-19 brought its challenges but be adapted to the change running our programme through zoom which was a huge success. RTÉ, our national radio and television network came out to visit us and shared our story nationwide. In this clip you will see a typical Hair Together class and some of the incredible work our participants are capable of when given the space and opportunity to do so.
We are committed to not just looking after our participants but the environment too. Caring for the Planet is at the forefront of our product and tool choices and education around this and the reason why is a big part of our programme. The use of such products also compounds a core belief that we are all worthy and capable of attaining the best if we have the knowledge and desire for it, all it requires is action. KM has been our choice from the start as your commitment to the environment mirrors our own. We were over the moon to receive support from National Beauty a few months back with products, this frees up funds that help us with other costs, so a big thank you to those guys!
Since the completion and success of our pilot programme, the demand for Hair Together has grown. We are delighted with the feedback and interest we’ve received, our waiting list is long. The three of us are working constantly in order to develop and grow the programme, it’s challenging to say the least, especially around funding but it’s also so rewarding. Our programme has helped many vulnerable young people so far, we’ve received amazing feedback from our participants and their parents.
There have been many cutbacks on local funding for the time being because of the recent pandemic. This award would mean the world to us, the prize is amazing, but more so to share what we do with the world and hopefully inspire others in our industry to do the same in other vulnerable communities. What happens during these ten weeks is nothing short of magic and I hope you can feel that from some of the media attached.
November 2018 to date