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Our Enhanced Tenancy Services Manager, James Haigh, with Ursula at Tyrah's Touch salon opening

Our customer Ursula Myrie is the founder and managing director of survivor led mental health and wellbeing service, Adira. Adira recently opened Sheffield’s first mental health friendly black hair and beauty salon – Tyrah’s Touch. We’re proudly co-funding it alongside Travis Perkins. We (virtually) sat down with her to catch up about the salon opening and the other work she’s doing to support the black community. 

Hi Ursula, we’re so happy to be chatting with you! Can you tell us a bit about Adira?

Adira is a survivor-led mental health and wellbeing service that supports black people with mental health issues in Sheffield. I set up Adira 10 years ago because I realised that many of the mental health services in Sheffield were not culturally sensitive, culturally competent, or culturally appropriate to support black people.  

And where did the idea come from to open a mental health-friendly black hair and beauty salon?

We launched the Black Hair Care project in 2020 after the first lockdown because there was an urgent need for support in the black community. The project gives black people with mental health issues the opportunity to get their hair done for free. There’s a massive link between hair and mental health for black people, so I knew this type of support service would work well. 

Wow, what a fantastic cause! We’re so proud to be co-funding Tyrah’s Touch with Travis Perkins. How has Yorkshire Housing’s support helped you?

I’m incredibly grateful for all the support Yorkshire Housing has given me and my organisation over the 15 years I’ve been a customer. Over the last three years, you’ve donated funds to several of my projects. Then last year, you got in touch about partnering up. We were running the Black Hair Care project at a salon called Tyrah’s Touch at the time.  

I knew that with some extra funding, we’d be able to get a bigger salon and offer more support services. So, Adira, Tyrah’s Touch, and Yorkshire Housing agreed to partner up and make it happen. We opened the salon on the 12th of February this year!  

The salon is open to anyone in the black community struggling with their mental health or who has learning difficulties, including Yorkshire Housing customers. People can come along to get their hair done for free. Or, just to sit and talk in the salon and barbershop which are our therapy rooms.  

We’re also giving Yorkshire Housing customers the chance to do training or apprenticeships in hair, beauty and skincare at the salon too.  

Congratulations on opening the Tyrah’s Touch! What does it mean to you to open a salon like this?

Something like this is long overdue in Sheffield. To open the first mental health-friendly hair salon in Sheffield is incredibly exciting and we’re very proud to be a part of it.   

What other things are you working on at Adira this year?

This year we’re launching The African-Caribbean Legacy Lives on Exhibition. It’s a recreation of a 1950/60s Jamaican front room, bedroom and kitchen and will be open to the public all year round.  

We’re also celebrating the 60th anniversary of Jamaican independence in August. We’re creating a Likkle Jamacia on Devonshire Green in Sheffield. It will be made up of Caribbean food, clothes and book stalls, plus corners for kids, youths, a dedicated LGBT area, and lots more. We’re also planning for there to be fashion shows, live performances from Jamaican artists, and a carnival.  

After the success of Sheffield’s first African-Caribbean Black History Month market last year, we’ll be doing that again in October.  

Sounds like there’s lots to look forward to! Thanks for chatting to us Ursula, we can’t wait to catch up again and hear about the salon and all the other amazing work you’re doing to support the black community. 

Tyrah’s Touch is based at Unit 5, Stanley Street Sheffield, S3 8HJ. It’s open 8am-8pm, Monday to Saturday. Follow @adiraorguk on Twitter for updates. 

Are you a Yorkshire Housing customer? Are you working on a community project that could benefit from extra funding? Our community independence grant might be the right fit for you! Learn more about our grant.