The Afro-Caribbean hair salon that brings together different cultures in Cleethorpes

The owner of an Afro-Caribbean hair salon has brought together different cultures during the decade she works in Cleethorpes.

Umojah on St Peter’s Avenue is more than a barbershop, it has been described as a social hub.

Owner Sharon Bett integrates her style into the community she’s in, which she says is actually pretty easy.

In the 11 years that she has had the business, she has not had a problem with anyone and everyone has been very welcoming.

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Sharon started over ten years ago and says she was happy to still be on Main Street.

She said: “We started here 11 years ago in the days of the swine flu and we managed to survive a pandemic so we are very happy to be here.

“I initially started the business because there was nothing else like it in the area. Before that, I used to go to London every two or three weeks to get my hair done properly.

“I was like ‘what am I doing?’ I managed to fend for myself and finally decided to open up on my own. “

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Umojah Salon on St Peter’s Avenue, Cleethorpes

Hairdressing has been a passion of Sharon since she was a young girl.

She explained, “When I was younger, I spent my lunches at school cutting people’s hair for money, rather than eating.

“Since opening here, everyone has been very kind and thoughtful to us.

“When I arrived in Grimsby I felt at home straight away and never knew any prejudices.

“I don’t look at black, Asian or white, I just see everyone as people when they walk in the door.

“The best part for me is the people walking through the door. When they leave with a smile, that’s what’s most important.

“It’s about feeling warm and welcomed here. We try to do our best for all of our guests.”

Tia Charles with Sharon Bett at the Umojah Lounge on St Peter's Avenue, Cleethorpes
Tia Charles with Sharon Bett at the Umojah Lounge on St Peter’s Avenue, Cleethorpes

October is Black History Month which recognizes and celebrates achievements within the black community, including their political and cultural contributions to society.

While Sharon has always felt welcome and suffered no prejudice when living in North East Lincolnshire, unfortunately it is not the same for other members of the community.

Peter came to live in North East Lincolnshire from Nigeria just a few months ago.

He has trouble getting to know other people.

He said: “I have a hard time talking to people. I try to talk to people and they just ignore me, I don’t know if it’s because of my skin color or not.

“I’ve been here for four months now and still don’t have a friend.

“I’m trying to understand the community and the city I live in now. The culture was the biggest change for me when I first came here, but I’m slowly getting used to it.”

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