Stormzy's barber offers free haircuts as part of campaign to empower more people with essential digital skills – FE News

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Based in East London with clients including the likes of Stormzy, @anthonyjoshua and @ajtracey, CEO and founder Mark Maciver, is currently helping to tackle tech and financial exclusion, along side @Mastercard.
Mastercard partners with iconic East London barbershop SliderCuts to offer free money and tech advice for those most in need of financial support following the pandemic, with a complimentary haircut included.
The initiative follows research commissioned by Mastercard* that almost a quarter of people (23%)** cited being happy to talk about money issues at their barbershop or hairdressers; with 1 in 10** viewing barbershops as the hub of the community and a safe space to talk about issues and concerns.
Post pandemic, the digital and financial divide in the UK currently stands at 1.5 million homes remaining offline***. And it seems many people have nowhere to turn, with 30%** of those surveyed stating they feel uncomfortable discussing finances at all.
Working with Clean Slate and Good Things Foundation once again, the two-day activation is a continuation of Mastercard’s ‘Nobody in The Dark’ digital and financial inclusion campaign, which first launched in 2020. Kicking off on Thursday 2nd September, the initiative aims to help those living in poverty or on low incomes with limited digital skills who would benefit from support in using digital tools.
Mark Maciver of SliderCuts says:
“I know first-hand the importance a barbershop can have on the community. I’ve witnessed grown men breakdown over issues they can’t talk about to the people closest to them yet feel comfortable enough to discuss with their barber. We all struggle at times in our lives; whether it’s finances, relationships, family or work and I truly hope that barbershops feel like a safe space for anyone wanting to open up. I’m really proud to partner with Mastercard on this initiative, tackling a very important but often unspoken issue.”
Chosen for its familiarity, with 18%** of people citing barbershops as an environment to which they can catch up on local news and where people feel comfortable opening up to talk; representatives from Clean Slate will be on hand at SliderCuts to offer advice on how best to navigate money matters and share guidance on how to use online services safely.
In keeping with the aims of Mastercard’s Nobody in the Dark campaign, the initiative is designed to help empower people with the digital skills they need for everyday tasks and improved financial wellbeing. All are welcome to attend. A dedicated booking telephone number and email address1 have been created with some appointments held for walk ins, should customers not have access to a phone or email.

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​​Kelly Devine, Division President, Mastercard UK & Ireland commented:
“We have been working with our partners to provide emergency support to tackle the digital and financial exclusion faced within the UK, which has been heightened following the effects of the pandemic. Offering people help in an environment they know and feel comfortable in, within their own community is a way we can break down barriers and encourage those who need it most to seek the help and support they need.”
Emma Kernahan, Clean Slate Support Worker:
“Community hubs and familiar places like barbershops, are integral to how we support and empower our clients through money guidance and digital skills. Everyone appreciates the opportunity to have a safe space in which they can talk, open up and ask questions. The work carried out at the Nobody in the Dark barbershop has highlighted just how important opportunities like this are to those most in need”.
The ‘Nobody in The Dark’ campaign is supported by Mastercard, Good Things Foundation, Clean Slate Training & Employment CIC and Lloyds Banking Group. It offers personalised, face-to-face support to digitally and financially excluded people from 20 centres across the UK in locations such as Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and Swansea. The programme will target people living in poverty or on low incomes, who have limited digital skills and need support to use digital financial tools. This includes people facing greater risks of digital and financial barriers, including disabled people and people from communities experiencing racial inequalities.
The free resource hub at nobodyinthedark.co.uk is also available to help boost the confidence of those with limited digital skills, allowing them to engage confidently with free, trusted online support on money, security, benefits and debt.
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