A special plaque now has pride of place in the NSPCC Midlands’ counselling room to mark the ten-year partnership between Childline and East Midlands salon Group, KH Hair.
Over the past decade, the Group’s 21 salons have held fund-raising events ranging from pamper evenings to head shaves and taken part in charity events from static cycling to tough mud challenges, raising over £60,000 for the charity.
KH Hair Joint-Managing Director, Darren Messias, was invited to visit the offices to meet with volunteers and hear about the work being done to support vulnerable children in need of help. Service manager, Sabrina Taylor, gave Darren an overview of the work being done by staff and volunteers and thanked him for the Group’s continued support. “Ninety per-cent of fundraising comes from voluntary contributions.” she explained. “So the support of companies such as KH Hair is absolutely invaluable to ensuring we can be there for as many children as possible who need our help.”
Childline is a free 24-hour counselling service for children and young people up to their 19th birthday in the United Kingdom provided by the NSPCC. The charity deals with any issue which causes distress or concern and common issues dealt with include child abuse, bullying, mental illness, parental separation or divorce, pregnancy and substance misuse.
Darren met with volunteer counsellor, Jane Colwill who is also marking her 10th year with the charity. Jane, who started out on the switchboard before training to be a counsellor, said. “The reasons for contacting us haven ‘t really changed but children are now able to access our services much more easily. I remember receiving written letters and taking phone calls but now they can contact us by email or even via 1-2-1 online chat which is increasingly popular, particularly during the evening hours.
“Being a Childline counsellor is very rewarding but, of course, some conversations can be very difficult and upsetting to deal with. However, the support we are given by the charity is absolutely wonderful. Not only are we there for the children 24/7 but someone is also there for us whenever we may need to talk.”
Following the meeting, Darren said: “KH Hair has been built on the values of ‘family’ both in the people we employ and in the varied generations of families who have come into our salons over the years. This is why the NSPCC’s Childline is such a good fit for us. Everyone has shown a real commitment to raising money for this very worthy cause and we are incredibly grateful to our wonderful staff and clients who have given up their time and generously donated over the last 10 years.”
Further cementing the strong family ethos, KH Hair recently pledged to support its young workforce with the introduction of mental health training which is currently being delivered across the Group’s 21 salons and training academy.
“We have been running our apprenticeship scheme for a number of years now and have seen quite a significant growth in the number of school leavers suffering from some kind of mental health issue.” explained Darren. “Our franchisees are seeing this too and often call us for advice. These conversations have made us realise that, as a company, we are simply not equipped with the skills to recognise and deal with these issues effectively. These valuable workshops are giving our franchisees and managers the essential skills to spot signs of distress and the confidence to effectively start that first supportive conversation.”
Figures from Childline indicate the most common reason for counselling sessions in 2018/19 was mental and emotional health. The charity is now working with KH Hair to explore additional ways they can work together to support young salon staff.
NSPCC fundraising manager, Claire Campbell, said: “To have KH Hair’s support over the past decade has ensured we can be there when children need us most. As a business, they truly understand the need for Childline and how it can be a lifeline for vulnerable young people.
“We look forward to building the relationship with KH Hair staff and customers over the years to come and I would like to thank them wholeheartedly for all they have done for the children.”
For more information about KH Hair, please visit: www.khhair.co.uk.