It’s about belonging, and making these people feel like they fit into the community. We all want to feel like we belong somewhere.Desiree McDonald
That’s what local salon owner Desiree McDonald believes everyone deserves.
In fact, it’s the motivation that drove her to open the country’s first all abilities hair salon – Shear Abilities.
On International Day of People with a Disability, Ms McDonald spoke to a crowd at her salon about the importance of businesses and communities to include people of all abilities in everyday activities.
“We need more inclusion and awareness. I would like other businesses to see what I’m doing and think they can do the same, and implement it in their workplace,” she said.
The wheelchair friendly hairdressing salon includes a disabled toilet and a play room full of sensory toys for children with disabilities or on the spectrum
“It’s about belonging, and making people with a disability feel like they fit into the community. We all want to feel like we belong somewhere,” Ms McDonald said.
The mother-of-six, including a child with a disability, has four people with a disability employed at her salon.
Joblife and Ms McDonald partnered to host an event as part of awareness campaign International Day of People with a Disability.
The theme for this year’s event is empowering people with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.
The guest list included mayor Loretta Baker who officiated the event at the High Street salon, and saw nearly 40 people from the community in attendance.
Joblife Employment team leader David Curtis said the event aimed close the gap for people living with a disability, and give them “more opportunities”.
“We tried to educate employers about the benefits of educating people with disabilities,” he said.
“People with disabilities are often categorised and maybe aren’t seen as capable, so it’s all about education and trying to bridge the gap.
“We want to explain to employers the benefits of employing people with a disability, and how it can help their business.”
International Day of People with a Disability aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.