Riverside supports hairdresser to go back to her roots

Riverside is supporting residents to get their hair cut and nails polished at a new beauty salon which has launched on the exact spot where the hairdresser met her husband 23 years ago.

With new Government safety guidelines for close contact beauty treatments coming into place on Saturday, residents at Riverside’s Willow Brook extra care scheme and the local community in Washington, near Sunderland, can access the new salon which has opened onsite safely after waiting months due to COVID restrictions.

Joanne Phipps has established her new social enterprise Dalahair Studio with the support of Riverside on the site of the former Washington Colliery Welfare Hall and Institute, which dates back to the 1930s. The building was turned into a nightclub in the 1980s where Joanne met her husband Wayne at the Delaware bar.

Willow Brook has more than 100 Riverside residents, many of whom are former miners and their loved ones who also used to go to the nightclub, worked and socialised on the site and now have access to discounted beauty treatments to support their health and well-being.

Riverside has helped Joanne by offering all PPE equipment, including visors and face masks, both of which under new Government regulations now have to be worn by hairdressers, as well as making face masks available for residents whose ages range from 31 to 98 and are using the new salon.

Molly Welsh, a Riverside resident, said: “It’s wonderful to have these beauty treatments available to us on our doorstep, especially with the impact of COVID to consider. We’ve enjoyed getting back to a bit of normality. Joanne’s a breath of fresh air and always makes you feel welcome.”

Joanne, who has three children Dylan, Abigail and Lily, added: “Thanks very much to Riverside for giving us this opportunity. Riverside has been a massive help, with Government guidelines changing. Residents have been desperate for a haircut during lockdown, in what has become a new meeting place for them.

“This is such a special place for our family – we’ve established our business on the exact spot where I met my husband and have named the business Dalahair Studio after the bar we met in and after our three children.”

Caroline Adams, Riverside’s Willow Brook Manager, said: “We’re delighted to have Dalahair Studio on board and wish Joanne and her team every success with their new social enterprise. We offer a subsidised rate for treatments for Riverside customers and staff.”

Willow Brook was opened by Riverside in 2016 and is made up of 79 apartments, which are one and two bedroom, including retirement living, for people with and without care needs who want to live independently. There are communal areas where activities take place and onsite facilities include a restaurant and café.

To find out more about Riverside’s Retirement Living services visit: www.riverside.org.uk/find-a-home/retirement-living