As you approach the Streets Ahead salon, the sound of the hairdryer, the buzz of the foot spa and the cheerful chatter spills out the door and provides you with that comforting feeling that you are going to be well looked after.

The salon has been run by Mandy and her fabulous team of volunteers for the past three and a half years; delivering both patients and visitors a whole range of treatments such as manicures, pedicures, cut, wash and blow dry’s, barbering and massages.

Speaking to Melanie, a hairdresser who has been volunteering in the salon for 6 weeks now, she told me that being in the salon is rewarding because “it makes people feel better, it’s about caring for people” and “you never know what’s going to happen” - she was certainly right about that!

The day started with a lady, named Kash, who had the loveliest long, thick, white and pink hair, but wanted it to be cut down to a bob. She realised that it it seemed a shame to just throw away such a large amount of hair, so with the help of Melanie she made the admirable decision to donate it all to The Little Princess Trust. Her generosity created a warm buzz in the salon, which was carried throughout the day with visits from regular clients and new ones too!

Spending time with the salon team throughout the day, I realised that the continued growth of the salon is a group effort, from both sides of the manicure table! Without the clients who spread the word and return time and time again, the salon wouldn’t be able to continue to develop and flourish, but this also wouldn’t be the case if it wasn’t for Mandy and her volunteers. They do an amazing job at making their clients feel welcome and when I spoke to some of these clients to ask them why they love it so much, many described it as “relaxing”, “friendly”, “a calming place” and that they “wouldn’t miss coming for the world”.

The salon now offers home visits, one Monday a month, for those who can’t get to the hospice. This is part of the ‘Closer To You’ project, which aims to reach and care for the one third of people who would benefit from the hospice services, but are not currently able to access it, making sure that everyone within the community can live well until the end of their lives.

“Mandy is so good to me. There was one day I couldn’t make it to the hospice so she came to me!” – John, a regular client at the Streets Ahead salon.

From what we’ve heard, Mandy and the volunteers truly are the life and soul of the salon, but they still continue to look for qualified hairdressers and beauty therapists to help out, so if you’re interested in offering your time for a day or two a week, have a chat with our coordinator Mandy Hendry on 01323 434258.

This blog was written by our Retail Communications Volunteer, Georgia Hendry, in August 2018.