A lifeline for hair and beauty industry professionals, the Hair and Beauty Charity was founded in 1836 and provides assistance to those facing hardship and financial distress.  Here, Samantha Grocutt, president of the charity, explains how to access financial support from the Hair and Beauty Charity, talks about the impact of COVID-19 on the charity, and details ways to offer support.

What is the Hair and Beauty Charity?

It’s the official charity for the hair and beauty industry in the UK and has been helping industry professionals in need for nearly 200 years.  We provide financial support, either one-off grants or regular payments, to people who are facing difficult times due to unforeseen circumstances.  Ultimately, we help people who are facing financial hardship. We give money to hair and beauty industry professionals so that they can buy food, dress their children, buy essential furniture, and cover basic needs.  As a charity, we’re quite unique in the sense that we cover all spectrums of help, as long as the applicants work in our industry.

Who is eligible for help from the Hair and Beauty Charity?

To apply for help from the charity, you need to be a UK resident, to have been working within the hair and beauty industry for at least three years, and to be in personal financial need; we don’t provide support with business finances.  

That said, we don’t want anyone to be disheartened if they don’t tick all of the criteria.  Anyone in need should still contact us and explain their situation.  If you are in desperate need then we still might be able to help you, to offer advice, or to signpost you to other available support. 

How do people apply for help from the Hair and Beauty Charity?

They need to complete the application form on our website and to upload the required documents.  It’s quite a detailed form, but you don’t have to finish it in one go; you can save it as you go along and complete it in stages.  We do ask for a lot of information, but we have tried to make it as straightforward as possible.  We require information such as bank account statements, but everything is completely confidential.  The only people who will ever know who you are, are the two people who work in the Hair and Beauty Charity head office.  The committee and wider team, including myself, are only given your case number or reference, they will never be given your name.  

Do people have to repay any financial support received from the Hair and Beauty Charity?

No, none of the financial support given by the charity needs to be repaid. We only ever give grants, not loans.   

What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on the Hair and Beauty Charity?

Like many charities in the UK, we’ve been hugely affected by what’s happened.  Our ability to talk to people, to fundraise, and to help people has been significantly impacted.  And the number of people needing our help has significantly increased. 

When the pandemic hit, our fundraising and event networking was suddenly cut, so we very quickly realised that we needed to amplify our efforts.  We started a relief fund in March and raised £35,000.  Beauty industry veteran Caroline Hirons realised the charity, and industry, needed help and launched the Beauty Backed initiative.  Within a matter of months, she had raised about £600,000 for the Hair and Beauty charity.  She’s been utterly incredible, and that money was a lifeline for us. 

The money that Caroline raised for us made a huge difference and enabled us to help many, many more people than would usually be the case.  In the first few months of the pandemic, the grants we allocated to those in need was more than we would usually give over the course of an entire year.  So far, we’ve allocated about £355,000. But there is still a huge amount of hardship and the financial difficulties faced by industry professionals aren’t going to magically disappear.  

How can people support the Hair and Beauty Charity?

We have a Just Giving page, for anyone who wants, and is able, to make a financial donation to the charity.  And every penny of the money that we raise, one hundred percent of it, goes to the beneficiaries.  

We’re also just about to launch a recipe ebook.  It’s a collection of favourite recipes from hair and beauty professionals.  The book will be available to download, and all of the money raised from it will go to the Hair and Beauty Charity.  

Creating awareness of the charity is really key, so a great way to support us is by talking about us, by telling people that we exist and explaining what we do.  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, post about us, share our content.  Those are great ways to support the charity.  It’s vital that as many people as possible within the industry know about the Hair and Beauty Charity; we never quite know what’s going to happen, so people need to know about us in case they suddenly and unexpectedly need our help.