Hospital hair salon shortlisted in Scotland’s Dementia Awards


Hairdressing staff and students from New College Lanarkshire are celebrating that a project to create a hair salon at University Hospital Wishaw has been shortlisted for Scotland’s Dementia Awards 2019.

The salon, Styles & Smiles, opened in April to offer long-stay patients free hair styling and barbering services.

More than 300 treatments have already been carried out by Commercial Hairdressing or Barbering and Male Grooming students from the College’s Motherwell Campus.

The salon is normally open three days per week during term-time – but dedicated lecturers and students have been volunteering their time one day per week over the summer.

It is one of three initiatives shortlisted for the ‘Best Hospital Care’ initiative in the prestigious awards, which are organised by Alzheimer Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland and Scottish Social Services Council.

Styles & Smiles was recognised for giving patients with dementia the opportunity for social interaction and the ability to maintain a routine that incorporates dates, days and times.

Anne Leitch, Chief Nurse at University Hospital Wishaw, said: “The ‘Styles and Smiles’ salon was launched after patients told porters they were embarrassed about their hair.

“The salon supports people with Dementia to maintain community participation, allowing individuals who have hairdressing routine to maintain this while in hospital.

 “We are delighted with the impact the salon has had on our patients. We have regular patients attending and they look forward to going to the salon.

“The social interaction within the salon is fabulous and has a positive impact on patients.”

The winners of the six categories will be announced at a ceremony at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on Wednesday 18 September.

Styles & Smiles was officially opened in April by ex-Motherwell FC striker James McFadden and Clyde 1’s Superscoreboard host Gordon Duncan.

Established through a partnership between NHS Lanarkshire, Serco, Summit Healthcare and New College Lanarkshire, the salon features two height-adjustable back-wash sinks, three hairstyling chairs, an overhead hood dryer and a seating area.

Two Hairdressing lecturers from New College Lanarkshire, Jackie McMahon and Jacqui Ward, have been involved in the project from the outset.

Jacqui Ward said: “It’s extraordinary to see the faces of the patients after they’ve had their hair done. Being on a ward, you don’t have the opportunity to make yourself feel good.

“We’ve been really busy and some days we’ve even had queues. It’s hard work but it’s so rewarding.”

Jackie McMahon added: “Our students have been fab – they’re so committed. Their confidence has been boosted but their skills have improved massively.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to work with different people – and for a career in hairdressing, those communication and people skills are vital.”

Student Catherine Brown, who will start Level 3 Advanced Commercial Hairdressing later this month, has volunteered in the salon over the summer alongside her daughter, Bobbi.

Catherine, who lives in Bellshill, said: “As much as it’s voluntary and we don’t get paid, the patients are really giving us something back because without them we wouldn’t continue to learn.

“The patients are always trying to pay us, but they’re the ones who are contributing towards our learning.”

There are approximately 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland.

Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland’s Chief Executive, said: “Scotland’s Dementia Awards celebrate the people and projects working tirelessly to improve care and support for people living with dementia and their families throughout our communities and across the health, social care and education sectors.

“On behalf of our awards partners, I want to thank everyone who entered the awards. It has been our honour once again to see so many tremendous creative and innovative collaborations taking place.

“We look forward to celebrating the work of all our finalists and winners in September.”

For further information about Scotland’s Dementia Awards, please visit

Read more about New College Lanarkshire’s range of courses in Hairdressing here:

Beauty & Hair

« Back to News