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Image by Cody Board

Leeds hairdresser hit by lockdowns ditches scissors to work for NHS

A hairdresser of 25 years from Leeds saw her salon close for the third time during the national lockdown and has now swapped scissors for hand sanitiser after becoming NHS key worker.

Leeds hairdresser hit by lockdowns ditches scissors to work for NHS
Image: Lee McLean/SWNS

Sue Carter, 40, only set up shop in 2018 but saw her progress halted for the third time in under a year when the latest restrictions were put in place.

The mum-of-three said when that happened she “needed to do something to help” because of her respect for the NHS and desire to contribute to their brilliant efforts.

That led her to sign up to work for the NHS supplies department, picking up and packing PPE orders then taking them to hospitals, health centres, and vaccination sites.

“I needed to do something to help, the NHS is doing such an amazing job in really difficult circumstances,” she said.

“I just thought, ‘what better way can I give back than to help myself?’

“I’m so glad I decided to do it. The work is physically demanding but it’s also very rewarding to know you’re doing something important.”

Sue said the role, which is 8am-4pm Monday to Friday, has led to her entering hospitals and witnessing the dreadful effects of the pandemic first-hand.

She added: “Some of the things I have seen really brought things home.

“The whole experience has given me an even greater respect for the NHS, the people there do a wonderful job.”

Sue’s official role is as a stores keeper and driver for the NHS supplies department.

She picks up orders of PPE and delivers them to various sites in Leeds, including Leeds General Infirmary and St James's University Hospital.

Sue said she heard about the job from her husband Jez, who works in logistics for Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.

She added: “Speaking to him made me realise that I wanted to do something to help too.

“I wanted to contribute and do my bit.”

Sue opened her salon, HQ Hair, in 2018, but was forced to close her doors for the third time in January this year when a third lockdown was announced.

She said: “For it to happen again was a big blow.

“It’s been a really tricky time and, of course, very stressful but you have to play the cards you are dealt.”

When Sue was able to reopen in July she had hundreds of customers on her waiting list and needed to work seven days a week just to cope with demand.

Although she is looking forward to getting back to her trade at the earliest possible opportunity she said she’s “delighted” to have worked with the NHS at such a difficult time.

She added: "I feel really grateful for the opportunity.

"I’ve contributed to the Covid effort, which has been really rewarding, and met some great people.”


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