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Talking Heads

17 June 2009

Maggie’s Oxford and local my new hair associate Caron Collins are working together to help to provide support to people across the region of Oxford who are facing hair loss due to cancer treatment Trevor Sorbie MBE will visit Maggie’s Oxford’s interim facility at Churchill Hospital on Wednesday, December 2, where he will give a demonstration on cutting and styling wigs to suit individuals. Inspired by his own experience, helping a family member during cancer treatment, Trevor Sorbie launched his charity my new hair as a not-for-profit organisation in June 2006. Trevor now dedicates all of his salon time to offering advice, and a wig customisation service, to clients suffering from medical hair loss. Trevor and his team are also working closely with supporting partner L’Oréal Professionnel, running monthly training seminars at the L’Oreal head quarters to build a national network of salons that can pull together, sharing their expertise to offer a best practice service in every region. Trevor commented: “I have now helped several hundred women whose reactions have provided me with a whole new dimension in job satisfaction. This is not about earning money – it is about using my skills to give people something truly meaningful and now peers across the UK are joining me in doing this.” One of Trevor’s peers is Caron Collins, from Long for hair in Didcot, who has been attending Maggie’s Oxford Centre for the past few months to integrate her skills into their Talking Heads Sessions. Maggie’s Oxford’s Talking Heads is a programme that meets monthly and is open to men and women anticipating or experiencing hair loss. Each session offers an opportunity to share experiences and anxieties around losing hair and to learn practical ways to manage it, with advice on scalp care, tying scarves, and choosing the right wig. Caron also provides an opportunity to try different types of wigs available and demonstrates the benefits of cutting and styling to personalise them to the individual. Caron, an experienced hairdresser was inspired to train in styling wigs when she saw a friend struggling to find a wig that suited her having lost her own hair during cancer treatment. Caron has been providing expert advice to people at Maggie’s Oxford since the service was launched in the summer. Her passion for the service is obvious: “When people buy a wig, they are looking at preserving or regaining their identity. It is a highly emotional time and support is vital in ensuring they get it right. The wig has to suit the face shape, colouring and lifestyle of the individual, and if chosen well can really boost someone’s confidence at a very difficult time in their life.” Maggie’s Centres provide a programme of activities that enhance the life of people living with cancer and empower them to live with, through and beyond their diagnosis. Maggie’s already provides Look Good … Feel Better sessions for women who have cancer, which are free 2-hour workshops provided by professional beauty therapists, offering women the opportunity to look at cosmetic possibilities for managing the changes experienced while undergoing treatment for cancer. The Talking Heads programme links well with Maggie’s other activities and as with all Maggie’s activities is informative, lively and fun.

Maggie’s Oxford Centre Head, Liz Minton said: “We are delighted to have Caron Collins providing excellent support and advice in our service, and we are proud to welcome Trevor Sorbie MBE to the facility. my new hair is a much needed service for people dealing with the sometimes devastating physical side affects of treatment. We are proud to be part of this partnership providing expert support when people need it most.”

Maggie’s Oxford is currently based in temporary premises at the Churchill hospital. Planning permission has been secured for a purpose built centre at the hospital, deigned by Wilkinson Eyre architects and building work will commence in 2010. Trevor has so far trained over 200 hairdressers nationally and aims to make the my new hair service more local to everyone in the UK. The aim is train up to 400 hairdressers across the country to deliver the my new hair service in salons and healthcare environments and with a grant received from the Department of Health in October 2009, this target is becoming more achievable every day.

The grant has been provided to support the my new hair team in extending and expanding the programme to provide the following:

1. Advanced nurse-led skills training for hairdressers focussing on aftercare relating to hair re-growth post chemo-therapy and communicating with patients

2. A comprehensive resource for hair professionals to support the education programme and help them provide effective pre-care and aftercare services for cancer patients

3. An educational booklet for patients and healthcare professionals with information on hair loss, wig services and hair re-growth

4. Additional support and training to give hairdressers the confidence to deal with the psychological implications and sensitivity issues surrounding wig styling for cancer patients.