community

Jonny's Place and the Community

Jonny's Place offers reduced rate services for elderly members of the community, people with disabilities, those on very low or no incomes and families with children, who would benefit from a service which combines haircuts with mental health support.

Jonny's Vision

This was a letter drafted to someone from the City of London.

Dear Chris,

I was passed your details as a good person to contact to discuss the public health and wellbeing sector in the City.

I have run a hair salon and barber shop in the City for more than 30 years and I am now at Jonnys Place Hairshop in Devonshire Square.

I have seen the area change innumerably over the past 30 years but of course in the last three years things have transformed beyond all imagination.

As a small business owner, I have seen firsthand the habits of people who come into the area change - with fewer and shorter visits and a reduction in overall numbers.

This has made trading more difficult and involved longer and less dependable hours. The uncertainty of the pandemic was extremely challenging and I’ve managed to stay afloat thanks to my many years building a loyal clientele and strong reputation for service and skill.

The changing economic outlook and cost of living crisis, combined with the turmoil of the pandemic, has been problematic not only on a personal level but clearly for many of my clients.

Us barbers are given rare and unique time with people who will speak openly and honestly about their grief and mental wellbeing in a way they would not with friends and even family.

I am a slightly unique case in that, as a fully trained psychotherapist (UKCP-registered no 2011169182) with a private practice run from The Klinik in Devonshire Row, I have a greater knowledge and understanding than most of the importance of supporting people’s mental health.

I hear daily in my psychotherapy practice and styling chair stories from people dealing with emotional, psychological and physical illnesses, disorders and disabilities - and there is often crossover, with people unfortunately feeling the immense pain of conflicts, confusion and dissatisfaction in life.

In both careers I meet and work with clients with autism, ADHD disorders, suicidal tendency, depression, anxiety and addictions, and people that have suffered many emotional, physical and psychological traumas.

There has been a welcome growth in people’s understanding of mental health. It is, rightfully, beginning to be treated with the same level of importance as our physical health. People are more accepting and aware of their own and of other’s mental health, especially since the pandemic. But there is much more that needs to be done.

I have long thought there would be merit in combining barbering and mental health provision and I’m writing to you to seek your support for such a service.

I believe it could be a forward-thinking way for the City of London authorities, in conjunction with local business owners, to support the local community and those who come to work here. It would also boost visitor numbers and promote the City’s credentials as a welcoming and supportive place.

The aim is to combine my hairdressing, barbering and beauty services with psychotherapy through a communal space or hub in Devonshire Square which I feel could make a real difference to people’s lives.

I have been in contact with the Lions Barber Shop Collective, a great national initiative providing emotional support for people in barber shops and hair salons, with the aim of hosting a training day for City barbers so they can gain new skills and better serve their clients.

But I would like to go further and take on a number of local apprentices from disadvantaged surrounding areas to be trained in barbering and mental health so they can understand the vital role they can play helping and supporting people.

I would like to create a permanent service, anchored from a site in Devonshire Square, to educate and support the City’s barbers shops with resources so they can support their clients.

I would also like to offer some reduced rate services for elderly members of the community, people with disabilities, those on very low or no incomes and families with children, who would benefit from a service which combines haircuts with mental health support.

I would greatly appreciate a very small amount of your time, or the time of one of your colleagues, to discuss my ideas further and how I can help you achieve your aims of supporting people in the area’s health and wellbeing.

Your sincerely,

Jonathan Dicker