Barber cuts homeless people's hair on days off

He's been cutting hair for the homeless on the Capital's streets for almost four years.

Saturday, 3rd June 2017, 7:20 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:36 pm
Kalon Forrest cuts Chris' hair. Pic: Greg Macvean
Kalon Forrest cuts Chris' hair. Pic: Greg Macvean

But Kalon Forrest has only had his generous efforts noted this week after a passer-by snapped a photo of him carrying out his good deeds on Princes Street and posted it online.

The 20-year-old, who lives in Granton but is originally from Gullane, is a barber at Boombarbers in Stockbridge where he works six days a week.

He spends the majority of his days off scouring the city for “homies” who he can spruce up and make feel better about themselves.

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After securing his first job at the age of 16 in Cheynes, on York Place, Kalon quickly noticed the amount of people living rough in Edinburgh and wanted to make a difference.

He said: “People are too bothered about things like social media and how they look these days to stop and think about people who aren’t as fortunate.

“I don’t see what I do as admirable, I just see it as the way it should be.

“Everyone is capable of helping others. I am a hardworker like many and I just chose to spend my free time doing something that will make a difference to others.”

A modest Kalon said he charges his electric clippers and fills up his spray water bottle before heading out for a day on the streets.

He said: “Living outside the city, I’d only ever heard about homelessness, I hadn’t actually seen it for myself but when I did, I knew immediately I had to give something back.

“We are all brothers at the end of the day and I don’t like calling those that sleep rough homeless people – they are my “homies”.

He added: “It’s usually quite a long day when I cut their hair as there is a lot of crouching and bending involved.

“After I’ve cut their hair I’ll often just sit and talk to them for a while, buy them a coffee and give them a little spray of Lynx. For me this is isn’t a publicity stunt, it’s about doing it to help people and encourage others to do the same.”

Kalon has plans to begin his own fundraising project, Haircuts for the Homies, in the near future.

Derek Melville, manager at Boombarbers, said: “We are all really proud of Kalon.

“He doesn’t need to spend his day off helping others but he chooses too and does everything off his own back. It’s really admirable.”

Alison Watson, deputy director Shelter Scotland, said: “It is heart-warming to see someone taking time out of their own life to offer support for people who are struggling. Thankfully generosity like this is not uncommon.

“While being on the streets is just the tip of the iceberg of homelessness in Scotland it is a difficult life which can be lonely and risky.

“Acts of kindness like this will make a difference.”