Yorkshire Housing, through their Social Value partnership with Travis Perkins Managed Services have invested in Sheffield’s first mental health friendly, black hair and beauty salon – Tyrah’s Touch. 

10 years ago Ursula started Adira, a survivor-led mental health and wellbeing service that supports black people with mental health issues in Sheffield. Sadly, many of the existing mental health services in Sheffield were not culturally sensitive, culturally competent, or culturally appropriate to support black people. Ursula’s work has been able to recognise a link between hair and mental health for black people and therefore in 2020 launched The Black Hair Care Project after the first Covid-19 lockdown. This appeal was able to offer a free hair service to those suffering with their mental health due to bullying or lack of funds to care for their hair type.

Funding from Travis Perkins Managed Services and Yorkshire Housing has meant Ursula has been able to open a second salon which is bigger and can help the growing number of people in need within the community. Some service users as young as 12 years old struggle with low mood related to their hair. Bullying in schools is common due to the lack of understanding around the difficulties of caring for afro-caribbean hair types. Self-judgement in younger people is increasingly present with the added pressure from social media, influencers and tutorials which are predominantly suited to caucasian hair. The pressure to conform results in girls using products such as straighteners on hair that cannot cope with the intense heat and very quickly causing irreparable damage. The volunteers at the Black hair care project ensure that the service users are educated on their hair type and how to care for it going forward. They have also been able to start a youtube channel that is aiming to raise awareness around the difficulties that the black community are living with and encourage more people to volunteer at the salons. 

“The salon is open to anyone in the black community struggling with their mental health or who has learning difficulties, including Yorkshire Housing customers. People can come along to get their hair done for free. Or, just to sit and talk in the salon and barbershop which are our therapy rooms. We’re also giving Yorkshire Housing customers the chance to do training or apprenticeships in hair, beauty and skincare at the salon too.” – Ursua, Tyrah’s Touch.

Tyrah’s touch is  a ray of light in the community and has been helping customers since it’s opening on 12th of February this year! We are proud to have been able to support Ursula with her efforts along with Yorkshire Housing.