People with disabilities are being given the chance to showcase what they can do in the world of work with the help of a community-based hair and beauty salon.
Ocean Choices has taken over a room within Chuter Ede Community Centre and have transformed it into a working parlour.
Led by hairdresser and beautician Kelly Lovely, it aims to give those who attend the group the chance to experience the world of work as well as boost their skills in personal care.
Ocean Choices based at the centre in Galsworthy Road, South Shields, provides creative and life skills opportunities to people with learning disabilities.
Martin Wray, who runs Ocean Choices, said: “When it comes to employability, a lot of people can’t get employed because they haven’t got the experience, and the number of places they can get experience is almost nonexistent.
“It’s just a vicious circle and even harder if you have a learning disability.
When it comes to employabilty, a lot of people can’t get employed because they haven’t got the experience, and the number of places they can get experience is almost nonexistent. It’s just a vicious circle and even harder if you have a learning disability.Martin Wray
“We came up with the idea of a salon as we wanted to create something which would be both beneficial to the community but also give people who attend Ocean Choices the chance to learn life skills.
“The salon is led by Kelly, with our members doing shifts in the salon, taking appointment bookings, sweeping up as well as some will be given the opportunity to be trained up in different aspects of the salon.”
The beauty salon is open to the public daily and operates an appointment only system, except Wednesdays when it offers a walk-in service to customers.
Mr Wray added: “We are currently looking for an additional hairdresser, who is looking for a chair to hire, to come in and work from the salon - with two conditions.
“The first is they allow people to learn with them, and the second, any profit they make, part of it goes as a donation towards Chuter Ede.
“The salon is an ideal place for anyone wanting to start their career in hairdressing.”
The Beauty Salon offers a range of services from haircuts to nails and waxing.
For more information or to make an appointment call 0300 128 128, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Ocean Choices Salon on Facebook.