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Romford charity offers free haircuts for the homeless

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 March 2017

Stewart, centre, with Haircuts4Homeless volunteers.

Stewart, centre, with Haircuts4Homeless volunteers.

Archant

A former alcoholic is helping vulnerable and homeless people to turn their lives around by offering free haircuts to boost their self esteem.

Haircuts4Homeless has 100 volunteers across the UK.Haircuts4Homeless has 100 volunteers across the UK.

Stewart Roberts, of Ernest Road, Hornchurch, founded Haircuts4Homeless in November 2014 and operated out of the Salvation Army, in High Street, Romford.

He now runs 30 stores across the country.

The 54-year-old said he got the idea of cutting hair for homeless people from a video he saw online of an American man doing something similar.

“I’m 11 years sober so part of my sobriety was helping people with alcohol problems and seeing the American guy do it was the catalyst,” said Stewart.

The charity aims to help 10,000 homeless people a year. Pic: Barry BanksThe charity aims to help 10,000 homeless people a year. Pic: Barry Banks

“It started in Romford, I’d been working with people with alcohol problems for about 10 years and I was doing one alcohol project with the Salvation Army and saw a lot of people come in.

“I set it up in November 2014, then we went to Ilford, now we’ve got right as far as Dublin, Belfast and Manchester and we are opening in Colchester on Tuesday (today).

“We have got 100 volunteers across the UK, we make our money go a long way, it’s purely volunteer led so funding is mainly for setting up equipment.

In recognition of its work the charity has been short-listed as one of five London-based projects in line for a grant of up to £50,000 from The People’s Project - which lets the public vote on schemes they want to receive lottery funding.

Stewart says the money would allow Haircuts4Homeless to open up more stores to support more even more homeless people.

“We have got people that have jobs because of it - it makes a big difference but it’s more about self esteem because it’s very lonely being homeless.

“With the extra grant we can really push forward and open more projects and we are hoping to turn Redbridge into a flagship area.

“It’s critical because now it’s becoming a silent problem - according to figures we don’t have much of a problem but out on the streets we have.”

To vote for Haircuts4Homeless click the link here.

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