Top mental health award for MK College student barbers


Milton Keynes College has been named Exceptional College of the Year for its work training barbering students to spot the signs of problems regarding mental wellbeing among their clients.

The award comes from the Lions Barber Collective (, a charity dedicated to helping prevent male suicide.  The College is one of the first in the country to collaborate with the charity in founding a Lions Barbers Academy, training barbering students to spot the signs of customers having difficulties and teaching them what to do to help.

The Lions Barber Collective founder, Tom Chapman, said, “The awards are designed to celebrate those who really look after their clients and the communities they sit within, as well as those who go above and beyond to make a difference to the industry.  I am so proud that Milton Keynes College has achieved the Exceptional College Award for the phenomenal work they have been doing within the industry, and work like theirs is the reason the Collective Pride Awards were born.”

The judges said the College won the award for demonstrating incomparable support to its students and fully maintaining the Lions Barber Collective ethos, going above and beyond parallel organisations.

Executive Head of School at the College, Maria Bowness, said, “We are thrilled to have won such a prestigious award that shows how passionate our staff are to teach our students a range of personal development skills which support them and their clients in such an important way.  We will be offering the training to hairdressing and beauty students as well as those learning to be barbers on top of the regular curriculum.  The relationship between such professionals and their customers can be a very intimate one, and people will sometimes open up about their struggles when sitting in a barber’s chair in ways they otherwise wouldn’t.  

At Milton Keynes College our curriculum supports learners to develop their knowledge and skills beyond the academic, technical and vocational, ensuring students leave us ready for the next phase of education, training or employment as responsible and respectful members of our community.”