Paul Smith Associates
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The Heath barber Odin Swann helps his customers cut through mental health and depression issues

A barber at The Heath Leisure Suite is helping men with depression or mental health issues through one-one-one chats as they sit in his chair.

Odin Swann, who runs Odin’s Barbers at The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn, has just one chair in his shop which means he has time to focus on one customer at a time and engage them in meaningful conversation, allowing them to open up about any issues or problems they may be facing.

Odin told his local newspaper: "It's a very small barbers’ shop. I have chosen it to be like this for a very good reason - one-on-one, no interruptions chat. I want people to know that it is a safe zone for people to come in and have a chat or just chill and play the X-box."

After being left homeless six months ago following the breakdown of a relationship, Odin found solace by going into the gym at The Heath Leisure Suite where he met Fitness Manager Mark McGrath. Says Odin: "I was doing some mobile barbering when I was homeless, and Mark suggested I should open my own shop in a room at the Leisure Suite and it’s been really successful.”

Odin undertook five months' training and completed his Lions Barber Collection online which enables him to identify mental health problems. His customers mainly come from the gym and businesses located at The Heath.

“As I have just the one chair it gives me the chance to have some meaningful conversations with my customers. If they confide in me that they have mental health issues or depression, I listen and try to help by referring them to local organisations who can offer support. I wasn’t in a good place myself, but I do know that you can turn things around if you have some help and support. Meeting Mark at the Leisure Suite inspired me to open my shop and I’m now qualified to recognise and refer people to the relevant services should they need it.”

Lesley Banks, Sales and Marketing Manager at The Heath, says: “The Heath is much more than a business park, it is a focal point for the local community and we encourage people to come and use all of our facilities, such as Heath Leisure Suite, Café at The Heath and our function rooms which are available for business and private hire. We are acutely aware about issues such as mental health, depression and loneliness and we stage lots of events giving people the opportunity to meet and talk to each other. Odin’s barbers’ shop is a fantastic idea and an important contribution to our community initiatives.”

If you would like to have a chat with Odin call into his shop at the Heath Leisure Suite or call him on 07493 019428.

About The Heath
The Heath, which was established as a business park in 2000, has attracted over 175 British and international companies, ranging from bio science firms to IT specialists, from food industry consultants to website designers, and from government agencies to telemarketing specialists. Residents have been attracted by the 60-acre business park's vast range of impressive facilities and its flexibility in space management and in attitude. The Heath offers a wide range of office and laboratory space, together with a purpose-built conference centre that includes a 120-seat lecture theatre. Residents can also choose from a wide selection of additional services, including telephone and broadband connectivity, laboratory support services, scientific glass-blowing and precision engineering facilities, to name but a few. Residents also have access to The Heath's fitness centre and gym. Combined with 1,700 parking spaces, its first-class transport links - and the ability for residents to select and pay for just the services they require - it's no surprise that the number of companies on The Heath is continuing to grow rapidly.

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5th March 2020