Torbay mental health charity champion Tom Chapman has landed two top awards for his work during the pandemic.
Tom is the founder of The Lions Barber Collective which started six years ago as a group pf international barbers raising awareness for suicide prevention with the belief that the barber’s shop is a great place for people to talk and listen.
He opened his own business in Torquay in 2011 but has since gone on to become an educator, global barber director, author and campaigner.
Now he has won two major awards in a week - the High Sheriff of Devon's Award for recognition of great and valuable services to the community and the Marie Claire Magazine's Special Jury Award for recognition of going above and beyond in the hair industry for others.
Due to the Lockdowns Tom has been unable to cut hair or travel for work – so his energy has been focussed on creating sustainability for the charity, growing its reach and training hundreds of hair professionals to be in a better place for the conversations they will be having on the return to work.
Included was a podcast called 'BarberTalk - Tales from the Chair' to demonstrate open conversations between men in his virtual barbershop.
Tom said: “Shocked isn't the word. I am totally engulfed in what I do with my mission raising awareness around mental health and hoping to train all the hair and beauty professionals so they have the tools and confidence to ask great questions, listen well and signpost to existing resources.
“To be recognised by the High Sheriff, who is appointed by The Queen, and a hugely respected magazine like Marie Claire is beyond amazing.
“It really does give some validation to something I have dedicated my life to and persevered with in difficult times. It drives me forward and I'll never give up trying to make a difference and save lives.”
Tom began educating two years after opening his Hair Design business in Torquay in 2011 and has since travelled the world.
The Lions Barber Collective has now become an international collection of top barbers who have come together to help raise awareness for the prevention of suicide.
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