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Caister airstylists' Academy initiative

PUBLISHED: 09:38 20 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:47 30 June 2010

Melissa Lawrence, who runs Bee Boutique in Caister

Melissa Lawrence, who runs Bee Boutique in Caister

A ramshackle collection of shops in Caister has been transformed into a busy hub for hairdressing, beauty, fashion, educational classes and courses.

The initiative has come from successful hairdressing duo Amanda England and Daren Payne who are adding new strands to their Headmasters business with an ambitious Academy aimed at honing the skills of new and lapsed stylists.

Amanda England, who is adding new strands to the Headmasters business she runs with Daren Payne.

A ramshackle collection of shops in Caister has been transformed into a busy hub for hairdressing, beauty, fashion, educational classes and courses.

The initiative has come from successful hairdressing duo Amanda England and Daren Payne who are adding new strands to their Headmasters business with an ambitious Academy aimed at honing the skills of new and lapsed stylists.

The couple, originally from London, say they are motivated by a desire to improve the lives and opportunities of other people, as well as their own, and to pass on the passion, skills and enthusiasm sometimes lacking in mainstream education.

As astute entrepreneurs with a social conscience they say they are keen to give something back to locals, helping them to reclaim the collection of buildings in St Nicholas Drive and put them back at the heart of the community.

Amanda, 41, who has been studying for four years to achieve a teaching qualification, said traditional courses were often old-fashioned and crushed creativity.

Her aim was to fire with enthusiasm the ambitions of people new to the industry, arming them with the basic skills but without stripping away the fun and flair factor. A mix of mentoring and hands-on work with clients will sharpen their skills, while offering a cheaper hairdressing for option for locals, and access to disabled people who cannot manage the stairs to the main salon.

Meanwhile in the evenings the flexible space will host a range of learning including refresher courses for returning hairdressers, floristry and yoga, possibly becoming a satellite base to the main youth centre and working with Caister High School pupils.

The couple, whose first move to the area was to Regent Street, in Great Yarmouth, officially opened the Academy with a launch party on Monday evening. Amanda said she was delighted with the turn-out and support from local people who welcomed the investment in their village.

The complex includes an outlet for award-winning fashion graduate Melissa Lawrence, from Hemsby. The 24-year-old joined the team eight years ago as a trainee, earning enough to fund her studies at Great Yarmouth College. Melissa's Bee Boutique features her own designs, “tweaked” vintage clothing and a made-to-measure design service.

Leanne Holsworth's beauty salon has moved downstairs to take treatment space in the new suite of rooms.

“The building was at the centre of the community but empty and tired. We have come here and spent money on it and now it is buzzing again. There is a lack of people coming in to this industry and the national curriculum is antiquated with a high drop out rate. But I am very excited about it and I want to pass that enthusiasm on whether people want to learn, refresh or upgrade,” Amanda said.

To contact Headmasters and the Academy call (01493) 721111.


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