Teaching success at the Shenaz hair and beauty salon
Older regulars of the salon asked how they could acquire the knowledge and skills to help look after themselves better, maintain a good appearance in later life and generally feel more positive. Coming from a range of different cultures and backgrounds, the group had lots of different self-care requests, such as how to design an attractive ‘up-do’ for their hair or arrange a variety of hijab styles especially with limited finger and hand dexterity. There were also requests to learn how to do hand massages that would help ease help joint inflammation, plus how to undertake anti-ageing skincare routines at home.
A course was devised by salon owner, Shenaz Rahman, who delivered it in the form of face to face teaching and group demonstrations over a period of 6 weeks in three languages. Some 14 students attended the course which took place in the familiar, friendly and informal setting of the same salon. A wide range of different topics specifically associated with how to look and feel better in older age were covered. Free products were distributed as part of the lessons so everyone could experiment with using real materials and practising physical techniques that they can use at home. Lesson guides were handed out to everyone so that everyone could keep a reminder of useful hints and tips for future reference. As with the spoken teaching, these were given in Urdu and Gujurati as well as English, therefore making the information as accessible and useful as possible to the wider group.
WHAT'S GOT BETTER
As well as developing enhanced self-care skills for improved health and welfare, group members gradually became noticeably more confident about their appearance as the course progressed. Feeling better about themselves physically and psychologically meant that their self-esteem increased. Additionally, lessons proved to be not just instructive, but fun and interactive multi-cultural social experiences at the same time. This led to participants deciding to meet up outside of the formal group setting. Feedback from class attendees include:
“I have made healthy changes to my diet to try to reduce the impact of my arthritis.”
“I feel like I can be bothered with myself again.”
“Now I do facials and hand massages at home so I can look after myself”
Bringing together a range people from different races and age groups who all share a common interest is a powerful dynamic and led to very positive, collaborative interactions which went beyond the sessions themselves. In addition to learning about health and beauty, attendees learned much about each other on many levels and became a close-knit supportive group in a wider context, leading to friendship and support outside of the group as well as within it.
The course participants are going to now form their own community group, with a focus on health and wellbeing. They are currently working with Bolton CVS and the local Ambition for Ageing project officer to develop this idea into a workable plan.
Yasmin Holgeth, Ambition for Ageing Project Officer, Age UK Bolton & Bolton Community and Voluntary Services