BARBER shop owner Asher Graham is offering a safe place for men to open up about their mental health in the pandemic.

Barber’s chairs have traditionally been seen as a place of sanctuary for men where they can relax and chat about their lives and Asher and his team of four have been doing their bit.

The owner of A Style Barbers on Manchester Road said: “I’m trying to get people to come in and talk because some of them don’t have someone to talk to.

“Even people who don’t need mental health support, they were coming and talking a lot more.

“I think barbering is like therapy, it’s here to help with everyday struggles.

“When you come to us, you can relax, and do what you need to do, say what you need to say.”

His shop was closed down for six months as a result of the lockdown and when the doors finally opened again there was more than DIY hair disasters to deal with.

The 23-year-old explained: “People struggled during the pandemic as some were giving themselves self-cuts, and messing up their hair.

“I helped by giving them the service I normally carry out while respecting the government regulations.

“I would start with simple questions like ‘how have you been’? and ‘how has life been treating you throughout the pandemic’?

“I’m always looking for the best in the worst situation.”

Asher relied on his savings during the pandemic.

“My mum always told me to save up for a rainy day, when the pandemic happened, that was the rainy day.

“The pandemic happened and there was no source of income. I didn’t need help from the government, I just had my savings.

“So, when I opened up the shop, it was just back to normal, it was like a break that I didn’t want to take.”

He started cutting hair at the tender age of 16 and opened his first shop two years ago.

“What I enjoy the most about this job is the interaction with people every day. My clientele is always growing, it’s not like it stays the same.

He explained: “My plan for the future is to get my brand recognised worldwide.

“Who knows what doors might open up but whatever comes to the table, I’m ready.”