Inspired by his own experience of helping a family member during cancer treatment, Trevor Sorbie MBE launched his charity, mynewhair, a not-for-profit organisation in June 2006 – a pioneering charity which offers a wig customising service for people suffering from cancer and medical hair loss.
This year the charity celebrates its 10th anniversary! Now working with lead cancer centres to enable more patients to access the wig styling service, the charity is experiencing increasing demand and an increase in referrals.
mynewhair welcomes hair professionals new to this area of work by providing responsible, nurse-led training and technical support building up a network of salons and professionals able to provide a wig customising service for people suffering from cancer and medical hair loss, with Trevor at the centre of it all.
Currently, there are approximately 900 hair professionals, including freelance and mobile hairdressers and almost 800 salons across the UK and Ireland in the mynewhair network. (45 in Scotland, 511 in England, 34 in Wales, 8 in Northern Ireland and 44 in the Republic of Ireland).
The charity has attracted many big names in the hairdressing industry including Darren Stuart from East Boldon’s Tribeca Hair Design, Tyne and Wear. Darren is a big part of mynewhair, not only as a salon and a Trustee but also as one of the trainers, who educates the network of salons and stylists. He has been a fundamental part of the charity’s operation since the early days, joining forces with Trevor Sorbie in 2006. As well as customising wigs for clients, he delivers the seminars at L’Oréal along with Trevor and other members of the charity each month, Darren says,
I think every woman suffering from hair loss should be given access to a mynewhair salon via hospitals. The information should be readily available through hospitals for them to access the service. All the mynewhair salons just want to help hair loss sufferers feel as normal as possible.
The mynewhair seminars held for the salons are not your average educational classes because of the amount of varying expertise that is brought together. The seminars cover wig manufacture, organic products for hair in recovery, as well as communication skills. This element of the seminar is led by Joanne Atkinson and Ann Fox who are both experts in their medical fields and Trustees for the charity. They deliver a very important aspect of the training focusing on how to deal with vulnerable people and also aid the stylists to build their own personal resilience when they are dealing with the emotional burden. The support the charity offers to both the client and the stylist is totally unique.
As mynewhair celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and continues to grow in popularity and demand it also has big ambitions, planning to go global next year, Darren is excited to be taking part in the next part of this journey. He explains,
We are so lucky to have the backing of a global company such as L’Oréal. As our main sponsor, they let us use their facilities to do our training, and help support the charity. Hopefully this will enable us with our international reach.
Trevor Sorbie MBE says,
In the ten years that the charity has been going our team and I have achieved goals beyond our expectations. The Department of Health has supported us, along with Gordon Brown when he was Prime Minister, who gave the charity a substantial grant for us to continue our work. Thanks to L'Oréal's continued support we hope to take this concept internationally. This is our vision.