Saturday 10 December 2016

Mobile barbers providing free haircuts for city's homeless

Published 06/08/2016 | 14:58

The barber said that since cutting the hair of the homeless his eyes have been opened to the harsh reality of a street life.
The barber said that since cutting the hair of the homeless his eyes have been opened to the harsh reality of a street life.

Homeless people in Belfast are being treated to free haircuts thanks to the generosity of a mobile barber who takes his styling to the streets.

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Armed with his water spray, comb and scissors, barber Joshua Fuller offers a free short back and sides, or whatever haircut the client wants, to some of the city's rough-sleepers.

Mr Fuller (21), who is originally from London, moved to Northern Ireland in 2007 following a holiday that he enjoyed so much he decided to live here.

A qualified hairdresser and barber, Joshua drives his fully equipped salon van around Bangor and Holywood before stopping in Belfast city centre's Waring Street, where there is a homeless shelter, to offer his free haircuts.

"I like helping people," said Joshua, whose sister is Olympic snowboarder Aimee Fuller, and who has cut the hair of her team-mates, Jenny Jones and Anna Gasser.

"So I approached Hope Harbour Help for the Homeless and offered my services as a barber to the homeless people they look after.

"We set up outside the Salvation Army in Belfast around 8pm and worked until after 10pm, doing around 20 clients."

His hairdressing van comes complete with an Xbox and TV, as well as his styling tools and products, and is the base that he and his team, Hannah Heald (25) and Ryan Troup (22) work from.

And although he can be found parked up in Bangor most days, he also drives to the houses of elderly and disabled clients who are unable to get to him.

He said that since cutting the hair of the homeless his eyes have been opened to the harsh reality of a street life.

"It gives you an insight into how difficult life on the street is," he added.

"We don't get personal with the clients but we listen to what they want to tell us. And it makes you realise how privileged you are. The clients are treated just as if they were paying clients, with a full consultation on what style they would like.

"We don't rush them, we take around 30 minutes so it feels like a real luxury experience.

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