Sheffield woman creates wig donation scheme to help people with hair loss feel ‘empowered’

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“I want you to feel like you and most importantly, to feel empowered.” – A woman from Sheffield has set up a scheme to make wigs and hairpieces more accessible to people with hair loss, allowing them to feel empowered in day-to-day life.

Hayley Ekwubiri, 30, from Sheffield owns E. Kays Hair and Beauty and launched Empower Bank last month after seeing the devastating effects of hair loss.

She said: “The reason for me doing it was seeing, first and foremost, the effects of hair loss and what that can be like for people and also the fact that sometimes circumstance can determine whether or not you can have a wig or hairpiece.

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The Empower Bank aims to make wigs and hair replacement systems accessible to everyone, regardless of circumstance.

Hayley Ekwubiri, owner of E. Kays Hair and Beauty and founder of The Empower Bank.Hayley Ekwubiri, owner of E. Kays Hair and Beauty and founder of The Empower Bank.
Hayley Ekwubiri, owner of E. Kays Hair and Beauty and founder of The Empower Bank.

“I found that it bothered me a lot. We've had lockdown, and shops closed, people lost jobs, and a lot of circumstances for a lot of people changed, and I was wondering what I could do to help, so I came up with this,” said Hayley.

Wigs and hair donated are revamped, restyled and coloured, ready for someone to wear; each wig and hairpiece is then posted with guides and everything the person needs.

Hayley added: “I want you to feel like you, and most importantly, to feel empowered. It is important to me that everyone gets the hair they deserve, regardless of circumstance. So if you need support with getting a wig or hairpiece, the Empower Bank is here for you.”

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Applications for the wigs run up until midnight on the 16th of every month and are reviewed on the 17th so that Hayley can match a person with one of the wigs in stock.

Speaking about the reaction to the scheme, Hayley said: “so far, it’s been really great. I was a little worried that It wouldn't get out there, it's not like a huge charity or anything like that, so I was wondering whether I would reach enough people or if I'd be able to help enough people and that sort of thing. But the feedback so far has been awesome. The first round of matches will be next week so, I'm excited about that; we've got quite a few applications and a lot of donations, which is just incredible.

“The feedback, even from people donating, has been brilliant. It’s just that sense of feeling like at least these wigs are going to live on to help somebody else. I think it just has a real community sense about it; people are giving them selflessly to help somebody else.

“It's just brilliant; I've connected with so many amazing people that have been happy to donate for such a wide variety of reasons.”

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A just giving page has been set up to raise £1,000 that will be used to buy hair, which is then made into a wig or hair replacement system for someone who has applied to the Empower Bank.

The 30-year-old hair specialist is now urging anyone who can donate hair extensions, wigs or hairpieces to get in touch.

She said: “Don’t ever throw away hair; these can always be restored and revamped and can change someone’s life.”

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