Makeshift beauty parlour set up in Edinburgh church for homeless women across city ahead of Christmas

A little pampering is all that's needed for many homeless women in Edinburgh ahead of Christmas.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 11:45 am
Lisa has her nails done by volunteer Jo.

The two biggest nights out in the city, Christmas and Hogmanay, are fast approaching and many of us will be heading to the salon for a new haircut ahead of office parties and family gatherings.

But for the city’s homeless the thought of nipping into the centre for a wash, cut and blow-dry is out of the question.

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Natalie browses the clothes rack with volunteer Rachel.

Staying clean can be a huge challenge for people facing life in unstable accommodation or a night on the streets.

Their lack of access to basic cleaning has been shown to impact on homeless people’s confidence, especially homeless women, and acts as a barrier to them re-engaging with society.

This is why volunteers have set up a makeshift beauty parlour in a local church hall to give women a proper pampering experience just in time for Christmas.

Haircuts, manicures and new clothes

Lisa and Ann receive toiletries.

Sparkle Sisters, a project created by local charity, Invisible Cities alongside the help of St Columba’s Free Church is providing haircuts, manicures, toiletries and new clothes for homeless women in Edinburgh.

Last week Christmas helpers at Sparkle Sisters donated clothes, toiletries, makeup, hair tools, nail varnish and their time to help women currently rough sleeping “regain their confidence”.

Homeless women across the city were invited to St Columba’s church hall for a relaxing Thursday afternoon of pampering and self-care complete with hot drinks and cake.

Attendees had their nails painted, hair cut and styled and chose new clothes and toiletries from a free pop-up shop.

Organisers Catriona Lamont and Alice Brown.

Invisible Cities founder Zakia says: “Our events are all about bringing dignity back to people who need it the most.

“We are so lucky to have found the incredible team at St Columba’s as not only do they provide us with a lovely space, but also amazing volunteers and cakes.

The general public has also been wonderful in donating so many items of toiletries and clothing so we could pass them on to women.

“These events are a real team effort and is only possible thanks to a team of amazing volunteers from people at St Columba’s welcoming our guests, to hairdressers, podiatrists and nail technicians.”