This Crowdfunder is a fundraiser to support Open Barbers and their freelancers to get through the COVID-19 pandemic and aftermath. The salon closed on 23rd March 2020, and recent government guidance suggests we will be unable to reopen before early July. Some of the freelance team have been rendered ineligible for the government's self employment income support scheme due to not being self employed before 2018/19 and Open Barbers' hardship fund is proving to be a lifeline for getting through this time. Any proceeds raised from this Crowdfunder will go towards that hardship fund. Supporting freelancers in this way is costing Open Barbers around £10,000 per month.
Open Barbers, a not-for-profit hair salon, is a really important asset to the local community, the LGBTQI community and anyone who feels that the hair and beauty industry does not cater for their needs. All of the freelance team who deliver services at Open Barbers have a strong, personal connection to this ethos, and do such important work with hair and with providing a safer space for people to come together.
Open Barbers got off the ground with two transgender hairdressers, Greygory and Felix, building a project that pays attention to how important it is to welcome people just as they are, and be sensitive to their needs. Now there is a team of ten, nine of which are freelance stylists, all offering various skills and services to cater to a wide range of people. It's a special place to work as it attracts such fantastic and generous people in the team, as clients and as visitors.
On every mirror is our ginger kitten sign that reminds people that it's OK to ask for what they need, whether that's to sit quietly, take a break, or not face the mirror. The ginger kitten holds a sign that says "Ginger Kittens for Gentle Kindnesses" - a strong reminder that taking care of ourselves and each other is the most important thing. This crowdfunder helps us to take the message of our ginger kitten out into the world while supporting this wonderful team of hard working stylists to get through this period of difficulty. The rewards (picture above) have all been designed by stylist Richard Houguez and will be distributed as soon as possible, hopefully before 31st July for those pledging early on, but thank you for your patience. In addition, Crowdfunder are charging no fees for any donations received!
Our community and support networks have already donated generously to Open Barbers' hardship fund through a Go Fund Me campaign set up by one of our clients, and Open Barbers have received a small business grant from the government, so there's already some degree of support. It will also take some time for the salon to open and run at full capacity again and during this next period of reduced staff and services they will really benefit from any additional fundraising towards the recovery of the salon.
Thank you for considering supporting Open Barbers and the freelance team, and sending much love to you all xx