Doncaster woman's long-awaited haircut helps dementia sufferers

A Doncaster woman chose a drastic option for her first haircut in more than a year – but raised money for those in the town suffering with dementia in the process.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 1:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 10:18 pm

Barbara Harrison from Scawsby had her locks chopped at Markham Grange Garden Centre last week as part of activities organised by Home Instead Doncaster and DonMentia for Dementia Action Week, and money raised will go to the Doncaster-based charity DonMentia.

The 62-year-old, who works at the garden centre, said: “Over the lockdown my hair has grown and grown, for the past six months I’ve had to flick it out of my eyes so it feels really strange with it all gone.

“It’s a cause close to my heart as I’ve seen people close to me suffer, and the people who run this centre have too which is why they’re so keen to help out people like DonMentia.

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Barbara before her long awaited hair cut.

“Having the Rotherham Doncaster & South Humber NHS Foundation Trust health bus here has been great, it’s a wonderful thing for people to know they’re not on their own.

The use of the health bus was organised by Home Instead Doncaster, who were supported by a number of local partners at five different venues.

The head shave took place in front of an audience of people with dementia who were visiting the garden centre for lunch organised by DonMentia.

Eileen Harrington, founder of the charity, said: “For a lot of these people they’ve hardly been out of their homes for the past year, some are shy and it’s about getting conversations going and keeping people engaged. The past year has been tough for everyone but for people with dementia it has been every harder because they may not understand - other people don’t like the situation but are aware of why we’ve had the restrictions.

Barbara Harrison of Markham Grange Garden Centre has her head shaved to raise money for the charity DonMentia. Pictures taken by Howard Roe for AH Pix / lukepr.com on behalf of Home Instead Doncaster.

“We rely on the support of businesses like Home Instead and Markham Grange, who have supported us for a number of years now. Events like this, means people become more aware of dementia - it’s been a great place for people to go and get information. It’s the key to the door and once you’ve opened it you’ll see there’s a lot of help out there.

"I started the charity because my husband had dementia, I volunteered with the Alzheimers Society but it was clear people needed more help organised locally and it all grew from there really. We organise events like this and days out, we want to create social time for people.”

Rob Moore, director of Home Instead Doncaster, added: “It was amazing to see first-hand the impact of charities like DonMentia, seeing people out and able to socialise after a really tough year.

“We were able to speak to a lot of people at these drop-in centres, but for people who weren’t able to get down there’s loads of help out there - whether it’s speaking to us, people like DonMentia or speaking to your GP.

Barbara Harrison having her headshaved to raise money for dementia sufferers

“Thank you to our business development manager Claire Hoyles who pulled everything together for Dementia Action Week.

To make a donation to Donmentia visit Markham Grange Nursery on Facebook.

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