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Empowering women with Key Changes in beauty



Empowering women with Key Changes in beauty

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Written by: Kathryn Danzey
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The world of beauty is unique in it’s ability to inspire women to achieve and succeed

A new programme created by a very passionate and single minded lady, Michelle Nicholson has given vulnerable women a chance to train and learn new skills offering them the opportunity to change their life.  I first met Michelle at the end of last year, she explained her concept that through the Key Changes and the Monument Trust, a mentoring and educational charity she could offer women a chance of real hope on their release from prison.  Many women who have received a prison sentence cannot find it difficult to get a job due to their conviction or lack of confidence and experience. The program gives a safe and secure environment for these women for women who would otherwise find it difficult to find employment.

Here is one woman’s story:

O first started coming to Key Changes 7 months ago.  She moved to Sheffield three years ago from Canterbury in Kent.  O came to Sheffield fleeing domestic violence from a partner she had been with for 7 years and had 3 children with.  ‘My children stayed with my mum for their own safety and I ended up living on the streets, that’s when I got into shoplifting and crime, it was all a vicious circle and I ended up in prison and came out to little help and people treating me as a second class citizen.  It seems once you have made a mistake there is very few opportunities for a second chance that was before I came to Sheffield and met Key Changes’.

‘Key Changes was different to other people, I didn’t feel like I was just a client, I felt valued and not judged.  They believed in me so I gave them my best in return and I shared with them my past mistakes in life.  I have tried training courses and it didn’t work for me. I’d love to go to college but I have not got the confidence, I’d feel different, I am different I come from a different social background one without opportunities and guidance.  I spoke to Michelle about my passion for a nail group 6 months ago.  Key Changes had it up and running in no time, now we have regular nail and beauty sessions, it’s really popular and other agencies in Sheffield are hearing about it and want to join in.   At the end of the month we have a salon day and I like being part of it as we treat it as a real salon and it is the only work environment I have been in.    I love salon days it gives me something to look forward to and I feel like I am worth something and we achieve goals which makes me feel like I’m part of something as I have never achieved anything before.

‘If I feel down I come to speak to Michelle, regarding support and personal issues, they really listen, I mean really listen, I feel like that they have great empathy and this makes me more open.  Sometimes I feel like I would not have stayed out of prison without the support of Key Changes, otherwise there would be very little outside of prison for me and I know the other women feel the same’.

I like Key Changes – Unlocking Women’s Potential because they are open, passionate about the group and we give our all, in return.  The class makes us feel comfortable and if I went to mainstream college I wouldn’t feel comfortable.  Working with Key Changes gives me the confidence to do more things’

‘Since I have been at Key Changes I have completed the following workshops; Hand and Nails Massage, Cuticle Work, Nail Art / Diamantes, A full manicure and Henna.  If I could get qualifications I would feel like I achieved something worthwhile and makes me feel confident and part of something.   I know I would achieve the qualifications in this setting’

‘Salon day really makes me feel like I am part of something worthwhile.  Like I finally have a place and a purpose in life and helps me put the past behind me and move on.  After salon day I feel happy and we all have a coffee together and discuss our anxieties and fears before we saw the clients and praise each other for what we have achieved.   I didn’t think I could feel this happy again’

O‘s work completed in the salon day on the 28th June 2013 ‘I couldn’t believe I had the potential to achieve such work to this standard, I really can achieve things I didn’t think was possible’

Some months in to the project, Michelle has secured premises, which are just being refurbished and Manchester College are assisting with tutors.  I would like to thank Dermalogica as they have wholeheartedly got behind the scheme, offering skin care products for the girls to train with and also help with mentoring.

This is just the start, please keep an eye on the scheme Key Changes  Can help by offering mentoring or donating, please contact



About the Author

Kathryn Danzey
I have a passion to bring to you what really works in the beauty industry, from a moisturiser to the latest advanced treatment for anti ageing. After almost 4 decades in the industry I'm packed with info to share but never tire of looking for new things and would love you to share your experiences with us too. We're here to help you find that treatment or product that will make a change for you. Can't do without My Collagen Shots and H3O Night Repair. Love a great serum and UV protection

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