Antisocial activity, criminality and substance misuse is high amongst people who are growing up and living in very disadvantaged areas. In some areas of northside Dublin, there has been an increase in substance misuse and criminality with drug offence rates double what they were four years ago. Areas of social disadvantage are also impacted by high levels of; unemployment or underemployment, lower progression to third level education and poorer mental health. Many young people feel a sense of shame, stigma, and helplessness and are not afforded the same opportunity as people from other areas.
Hair Together is a 10 week personal development programme, which uses the art of hairdressing and barbering to reach and engage vulnerable young people distant from education, and women exiting the prison services. Hair Together aims to develop participant’s confidence and competence, teaches them new skills and support them through a wrap-around wellness programme.
Since launching in 2019, Hair Together have delivered 10 programmes reaching 125 younger people and helping them to upskill and grow in confidence. In 2022, they worked with Tusla to pilot the initiative with harder to reach younger people who needed additional support. They have plans to work with organisations in 2023 to engage the younger people in communities who can benefit the most. Attendance and completion of programmes by students is more than 90%. Self-reported benefits and impact include huge increase in confidence, self-belief, motivation, direction and self-regulation.
Impact Programme 2022
Eileen McHugh is the founder of Hair Together