May 2020 update from Open Barbers:
Thank you for stepping up for Open Barbers so far, your support means SO MUCH to us we have no words to describe the lift you are providing in these hard times.
We're astounded that we beat our first month's target so quickly, and that people continue to support us even now.
As the lockdown continues, we have calculated that to support our freelancers with a hardship fund during our period of closure we require just over £35,000 for a 3 month period. We have already received £10,000 through the government's small business support scheme, and have raised even more than this in donations from our community! However, we are extending our target to £25,000 to help us continue supporting our team until we can reopen again.
Even when we do feel ready to re-open, it will not be business as usual, as we will need to introduce strict safety measures for staff and clients which will limit our capacity, and some of our staff members may not be able to return to work immediately due to health concerns and carer commitments towards dependents. Some of our team are finding that they are not eligible for Government assistance for self employed people and are falling through the gaps in their flawed criteria. We've searched for options, but Open Barbers are not eligible for most hardship grants due to not being a charity or delivering a project as part of our request for funding. BUT! Our community are showing up for us in a big way and showing us and the world what a support network really looks like!
Thank you for your support so far on behalf of us and our freelancers who you are really carrying through in every way!
What is Open Barbers
Open Barbers is a hairdressing service in London that welcomes people of all/no genders and sexualities, with any hair length and type. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, their prices are on a sliding scale, where customers can pay what they can afford starting at £2.
Why London needs Open Barbers
Open Barbers provides a safe space for LGBTQ+ people to spend time in as well as getting their hair cut. For some members of the community, it's the only safe space they can access at all.
I'm Dillon and I've been going to Open Barbers to get my hair cut for the last five years since I've been living in London. As a queer, non-binary person who is a charity worker, I have been on a low salary for the majority of that time. Before Open Barbers, I couldn't afford a haircut that helped me to feel comfortable in my own skin and I didn't feel welcome at mainstream hairdressers.
We need your help
Because of the COVID-19/ coronavirus pandemic some staff are needing to self isolate and increasing numbers of clients are cancelling appointments. They are preparing to have to close as government guidance develops.
Open Barbers' insurance company have confirmed that there is an exception for pandemics and so will not accept a claim, and their local authority landlord have not yet confirmed if Open Barbers will need to cover full rent payments throughout the pandemic.
The estimated cost of full closure is £10,000 per month. This amount allows Open Barbers to pay their freelancers their usual working hours throughout and that is what the donations will be spent on.
The funds will be going to Open Barbers via their Director, Greygory Vass, who is the named beneficiary.
This service is vital for so many LGBTQ+ people in London and the team are some of the most hard working people I've known who truly care about their customers and their community.
If you are able to, please support Open Barbers to get through this uncertain time for small businesses and social enterprises.
Thank you so much and take care.
Dillon Michelis x
- Elis Stephenson
- Sarah Ficinski
Organizer and beneficiary
London, Greater London, United Kingdom