Edinburgh barber offers free haircuts for the homeless
IT's perhaps a small gesture in the grander scheme of things.
But here, in a little corner of Howe Street, it means the world.
Sunday afternoon and hairdresser Keith Love is back at his work station, ready to use his talents.
Only, there’s no money to be made. He is instead offering free haircuts to homeless. On the last Sunday of every month the salon Keith works in, Urban Edinburgh, will host ‘Social Cuts’ and will include colouring and hair washing treatments, along with teas, coffees and sandwiches to people who are sleeping rough or are living in temporary accommodation.
The idea for the good deed came from an idea Keith had recently.
The 36-year-old, who has worked as a hairdresser for 15 years, said: “I had a dream I was sitting in a Social Bite café and a group of homeless people were having their haircut and it just stuck with me. I felt like I had to do something about it.”
Edinburgh born Keith then reached out to Social Bite to see how he might get in touch with people keen to have their hair cut.
Keith and salon manager Greg Robertson headed to Social Bite’s Home restaurant during their Meals for the Homeless service to take the first bookings.
Keith believes the scheme will provide much more than a trim and a tidy up.
He said: “I know it’s only a haircut but it gives a different environment for people to come into, they can have some one-on-one time with someone new and hopefully leave the salon feeling great.
“They will be treated like any other client.”
The service was launched on Sunday and husband and wife Christopher Griffin and Jaqueline Hunter were thrilled to come along.
“I haven’t had my hair cut in five years so I have been looking forward to this all day, said 35-year-old Jacqueline.
“It’s just so nice to be made to feel so welcome and to be treated like any other customer.”
The couple who are currently living in a B&B are working towards getting their lives back on track after years of battling heroin addictions.
33-year-old Christopher said: “I don’t like to look scruffy and feel embarrassed so this is going to put a spring in my step and give me a bit more confidence when I’m out and about.”
Christopher said that some people’s attitudes towards the homeless, need to change.
He explained: “As soon as you say the word ‘homeless’, people judge you right away.
“They look at you like you’re a second-class citizen.”
Jaqueline added: “I don’t have a home but I’m still a person, I have morals and I want to find a job and work.”
The pair commended both Keith and Greg for giving up their Sunday to cut hair for free.
She said: “These guys could be at home with their families having a roast dinner, but they have decided to come here instead.
“That’s an act of kindness straight from the heart.”