Everyone knows the feeling when you get a haircut, a confidence booster to say the least, especially if it has been a while! 

Haircuts 4 Homeless has been putting smiles on the faces of the less fortunate nationwide for 6 years, and team leader of the Manchester branch Jackie McColl is hoping she can put more smiles on Salford faces when she can return to doing what she loves.

Established in Romford in 2014 by hairdresser Stewart Roberts, Haircuts 4 Homeless currently have 600 volunteers across the country, with the Manchester team, lead by Mrs. McColl set up two years ago.

“Haircuts 4 Homeless Manchester started two years ago when I was appointed team leader to organise volunteer hairdressers and barbers to go into the homeless projects,” Mrs. McColl said.

“We provide all our free time which is usually a Monday morning for a couple of hours. It’s a very satisfying job in seeing the transformation a haircut can give.

“I started with my first project in Stockport and quickly expanded to now having 15 projects and over 40 volunteers on my books.”

One of those projects in based in Salford with the homelessness charity Emmaus, but Mrs. McColl would like to branch out further in the area next year.

Mrs. McColl said: “We only have the one project in Salford with Emmaus.

“Emmaus provides a home for the vulnerable in which gets them off the streets and working in their charity stores.

“My only other personal contact is with rough sleepers who have travelled into the city centre from Salford to get their hair cut by me on the streets.

“We are always expanding in different areas, so Salford may be one we look at in the new year.”

Originally from Edinburgh, Mrs. McColl now lives just outside of Manchester and after giving up her salon of 12 years to care for her ill mother and disabled sister, volunteered to help out at Haircuts 4 Homeless before becoming an important part of the charity. What does it mean to the homeless who leave her with a neat haircut?

“Their smiles say it all, they are so grateful to feel human and tidy again,” the hairdresser added.

“It gives them a bit of dignity back and a bit of confidence, especially if they have interviews coming up or they want to make an impression.

“You can actually feel how grateful they are when they are sat in the chair. It’s not just a haircut, it’s so much more than that.”

With the second national lockdown causing the closure of all barbers and hairdressers, Haircuts 4 Homeless have been affected massively.

“The lockdown has been a very frustrating time for the charity. We have followed all government guidelines and recommendations and have provided full PPE for our volunteers. We get the clients in centres to fill in COVID-19 track and trace forms, we take their temperatures and ask them to wear masks.

“Unfortunately, there has been the tier system which has stopped us being able to travel into certain areas and then the second lockdown has stopped us completely.

“For Haircuts 4 Homeless charity, we will come back and relaunch ourselves again. We will be stronger and bigger.”

Latest figures from anti-poverty organisation Greater Together Manchester outlines that 1088 people are currently homeless in Salford, either living on the streets or in temporary accommodation. Mrs. McColl can only see that number increasing.

“I can only see it getting worse with the current situation with COVID and people losing their homes due to not earning money or having lost their jobs.

“Unfortunately, there will always be homeless people out there,” Mrs. McColl commented.

You can find out more about the Greater Manchester team here, and Haircuts 4 Homeless in general here.

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