Hair at the Academy shines a spotlight of hope for Exeter’s homeless community

Glen King PR
Authored by Glen King PR
Posted Wednesday, February 21, 2024 - 3:31pm

Exeter-based Hair at The Academy (HATA) is making waves of positive change for those who need it most. They will shine a spotlight on supporting people experiencing homelessness in the city with their remarkable work in the community by extending their free education provision to empower those most in need.

Following the resounding success of their pilot projects where they ran hairdressing and barbering training courses for homeless people at their salon in Kimberly Road, Exeter, a registered VTCT Centre of Excellence - one of the UK’s market-leading vocational and technical awarding organisation, HATA is now taking their charitable efforts to new heights.

In collaboration with St Petrock’s, Exeter’s local homelessness charity, HATA is establishing a ‘School of Barbering’, to stand as a beacon of hope for individuals seeking to rebuild their lives.  Under the guidance of Mary Pugsley MBE, the visionary founder of Hair at The Academy, this transformative project offers training opportunities to those accessing St Petrock's support services, equipping them with valuable skills aims to foster a sense of security and provide a stepping stone towards reintegrating into society. 

The weekly barber training sessions will take place in a private room at St Petrock's with the support of HATA professionals who will mentor the students during their journey. As part of their commitment to excellence, student assessments will be conducted at Hair at The Academy's official training salon.

Fully qualified with a level 2 certificate in barbering Rhi Belcher, a former student of HATA, will be the designated ‘Community Barbering Lead’.  In addition, she will continue to offer HATA’s complimentary weekly haircuts to clients of St. Petrock’s centre. Rhi says: “I loved training at Hair at the Academy, and I’m excited about this new initiative and helping to make a real difference in someone’s life.”  She adds: “I’ve also recently taken over the weekly free haircuts and enjoying meeting new people.  It's a heartfelt gesture by HATA that not only transforms the client’s appearance but also helps uplift their spirits and restore self-confidence.”

Mary Pugsley says:  "The staff at St Petrock's are dedicated to supporting people who experiencing homelessness in Exeter, and it makes me so happy to know we will be able to help them with their work by offering these exciting new training opportunities. The charity works with people in extremely difficult circumstances, offering help and talking to people, and it's an honour to be part of this worthy cause."

Peter Stephenson, St Petrock’s Director comments: “There is a homelessness crisis in the city on a scale not seen before, and therefore, Hair at The Academy's commitment to our community is truly inspiring. Through their partnership with our charity, they will empower individuals, providing them with the tools to help rebuild their lives and find hope for a brighter future.  The incredible work of Hair at The Academy, combined with St Petrock's ongoing commitment, will bring a renewed sense of purpose to those who need it most.”

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