After 28 years in the Channel Islands, hair stylist Gillian Smith has returned to her home patch.

She has set up The Modern Barber, on the busy route between Blackwood High Street and the town’s market.

“I have always wanted to run my own men’s salon, and this has been a dream for a long time,” she said. “I am very grateful for the support I have received to help me get this project off the ground.”

The newly-fitted salon is steadily attracting a strong clientele both from the town itself and surrounding area.

The business was supported by a business start-up grant administered jointly by Caerphilly County Borough Council and Tata Steel subsidiary UKSE, which helped Gillian buy essential equipment.

A fully trained hairdresser, she learnt her trade in Pontypridd, and then Jersey where she lived for 28 years before her return to South Wales.

The Modern Barber offers the full range of men’s hairdressing services, and uses American Crew products.

Martin Palmer, of UKSE, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to help Gillian through our community support programme, working with the local authority. She has an impressive salon and the skills to match and I am confident the business will thrive.”

Cllr Sean Morgan, Caerphilly council cabinet member for economy, infrastructure and sustainability, said: “It is fantastic to see this new venture being launched with the help of the council’s start-up grant.

“Working in partnership with UKSE has enabled us to support the development of numerous businesses throughout the borough and we are fully committed to helping those new businesses thrive. I would like to wish Gillian and her new business the best of luck for the future.”