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Edinburgh College barber sets up business using football memorabilia to help dementia patients

  • Martin Murphy A.K.A The Football Barber uses reminiscence therapy with dementia patients

Edinburgh College student, Martin Murphy visits care homes across Scotland to give haircuts and help relive cherished moments using props and music from their youth.

The 30-year-old created his pop-up business, The Football Barber, last year and visited Canmore Care Home in Dunfermline last week.

"It's been a phenomenal experience," he told the Dunfermline Press.

"It doesn't even feel like a job to me. I love talking to people and listening to their stories.

"We go on a trip down memory lane."

Martin grew up in Kelty before moving to Edinburgh when he was 10, going on to work in the care service as a support worker.

And after completing a barbering course at Edinburgh College, he decided to launch the social enterprise that offers a haircut with a difference.

He said: "The concept is to deliver a really positive,engaging reminiscence service, utilising memorabilia, sporting materials and artifacts as well as audio and visionary equipment.

"I wanted to incorporate a quality hair cut with male company, laughter and camaraderie, while taking a trip down memory lane. My focus was to really enhance the experience and deliver something unique and memorable for the gents, as opposed to just a generic haircut, as that's what was being delivered in the majority of care homes to date.

"This spurred me on to learn a new trade, go to college and incorporate my experience in the care industry with a new skill set in order to help the gents."

The "reminiscence experience" is not just for gentleman with dementia, however, it is also open to any men in care.

Celtic fan Martin continued: "I have old programmes, music,signs and memorabilia from different clubs in Scotland including Dunfermline,Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Hibs and more.

"It's worked fantastically well in helping those living with this sad illness to remember moments from their past. It transports them for a while.

"They've all seemed to love it.

"Some of them have been reduced to tears listening to old songs and telling their stories.

"It's so rewarding hearing about their lives; where they'v ebeen, where they worked, who they knew and who they supported.

"It's really been tremendous.

"Depending on which club they support, I'll make it as personal as possible. The music really is powerful in evoking emotions and helping them remember amazing times they had.

"Everything is a highlight and everyone is interesting.

"A lot of the time they'll be relieving football memories they maybe shared with their dad or brother. It's a privilege helping them experience them again."

Martin will be seeking support from Bridge 2 Business to develop his social enterprise plan over the next year as he hopes to formalise his pop up business and be able to offer his services to more people across Scotland.

If you would like to hear more about the Football Barber, Martin will be speaking about combining his passion for football and barbering at the Edinburgh &Lothians Fringe Impact Summit at Edinburgh College on the 28th May, tickets are free for students and young entrepreneurs and can be booked on Eventbrite.