Beauty therapist and Scope volunteer Karen Doyle is set to break new ground with her unique beauty service – designed specifically to help women with disabilities.
Karen has just finished at West Cheshire College where tutors helped her to adapt beauty techniques to meet the needs of her specialist client group.
Karen, 40, from Chester, who was born with cerebral palsy and is dyslexic, has successfully completed her Level 2 beauty therapy course at West Cheshire College.
Her battle to overcome her own challenges led her to create her new service and offer beauty therapy advice and treatment to Scope users.
Karen said: “If you look good you feel good – and that goes for absolutely everyone.
“Just because someone has a disability there is no reason why they shouldn’t wear make-up, have their hair done, manicure their nails or enjoy beauty treatments and therapies – even if it does pose additional challenges.
“For many people with disabilities, image and confidence are really big issues but it’s hard to find the support or expertise to help develop it.
“My aim is to develop a service designed specifically to overcome these barriers and help people develop the skill and techniques to put on make-up, to have their hair styled, to choose their own clothes and to develop their own sense of personal style which works with their personal circumstances.”
She said: “Because of cerebral palsy I’ve had to develop ways to apply my own make-up between the spasms the condition causes. My aim now is to help others develop their own techniques.
“I want to teach people how to put on their own make-up and manicure their nails or teach their carers to do it.
“Some people need additional help to buy clothes because of physical restrictions. Just because someone is in a wheelchair it doesn’t mean they can’t buy clothes that are stylish and modern.
“The one thing common to all the people I have been working with so far is the enthusiasm to learn and the sheer joy of learning – particularly because many of the girls I work with have never had a chance to understand beauty therapy.”
Now that Karen has finished her course, she will continue as a Scope volunteer where she already teaches women about beauty therapy – a programme she hopes to expand within the charity to cover feminine hygiene, breast care awareness and a well woman programme.
She said: “I couldn’t have done this without the support of Scope and the college who have helped me develop the tools I need to teach others how to take control of their own self-image and boost self-esteem.
“I know this is a service disabled people throughout the area are crying out for.”
Kerry Martinez, assistant manager at the college’s Bodyworks salon, said: “Karen’s commitment to her course is quite overwhelming. She’s overcome every challenge presented by her disability to achieve her goal.
“We have learned a lot from her too. She has helped us discover many ways that our usual beauty techniques can be adapted to be used on – and by – women with disabilities.
“She is truly inspirational.”
Scope service manager, Fred Lines, said: “We are all filled with admiration for Karen. She knows only too well the problems faced by disabled people and is working to break down barriers and reduce stereotypes.”