A hairdressing salon set up by residents to provide training and employment on a deprived Tower Hamlets estate has been given an £8,000 makeover.
Annissy Hairdressing has just reopened after an £8,000 grant from the Isle of Dogs Community Foundation allowed it to expand and refurbish. The hair salon has been fitted with a new boiler, central heating, lighting and specially lowered basins to accommodate clients with disabilities.
Local resident, Maxine Wolfers-Conway, 41, an after-school club leader, said: “It’s nice to go across the road and get my hair done. They do a fantastic job.”
The salon was established on Poplar’s Teviot estate last Christmas by Teviot Action Group. It is the fourth business set-up by the group and the latest in a series of improvements local residents have made to the estate.
TAG was founded by Crissy Townsend, who lives on the estate, 12 years ago after she grew tired of the crime, drug abuse, racism and high unemployment in her area. She commandeered a derelict shop space, set up an office to run a variety of community projects including TAG and refused to leave until the council finally handed over the lease. After that victory, Townsend says: “I thought that was quite easy, let’s campaign for some other things.”
The idea for a hair salon came from a Teviot community survey. The council provided the shop space and the residents did the rest pitching in with everything from painting and decorating the empty shop to sewing the stylist’s aprons.
The salon employs 3 qualified hairdressers. They then provide training for 17 young people interested in hairdressing as a career. Some Annissy trainees have already progressed to courses at Tower Hamlets College.
The building upgrades mean the salon can now offer beauty therapy treatments and training for aspiring beauticians.
Ms Townsend said: “I wanted it purely so I could help people back into work … Most of our residents haven’t worked for a long time or didn’t get far in education. This helps them move on so they can go into full time education or employment.”
Tracey Betts, director of IDCF, said: “The Annissy project is an exciting one that will see two direct beneficiaries. Local residents will have a fully functioning low-cost hair and beauty facility on their estate and young women will be given the opportunity after school and at weekends to learn hair and beauty techniques and gain work experience.”