Stewart Roberts, the owner of Stewart Roberts Hair Studio in Essex, was so inspired by the amazing work of Mark Bustos in NY that he has set up a similar group within his own community-‘Haircuts-4-Homeless’. Stewart has began working alongside The Salvation Army offering haircuts to the drug and alcohol dependant. He has set up a Facebook group to help spread the word, and hopefully with the generous nature of hairdressers he will get a massive amount of volunteers. We caught up with Stewart to find out more…
1. Can you tell us a bit about what Haircuts-4-Homeless is?
Haircuts-4-Homeless is a community group where skilled hairdressers give their time free of charge to give haircuts for homeless people in the UK. Homeless people have many challenges to face, one of them often being a low self esteem. A haircut can have a great effect on someone, giving them a real boost. Its often way down on a homeless persons priorities with what money they have so the service proves to be very popular. Hairdressers have a known empathy and are great communicators.
The industry is known for it’s generosity and willingness to help people therefore there are many that would willingly give some of their time and expertise. I have started the project in Havering and am sure it can roll out across the UK eventually with the right amount of support. There is something very personal about cutting someones hair that can be both enjoyable and therapeutic which is something that many homeless people rarely get.
2. What an inspiring story! What inspired you to want to help others in this way?
I have been volunteering with the Sober Living Group for the last 5 years and through this have developed a good relationship and great respect for the Salvation army in Romford. After reading about Mark Bustos, who works for the high-end hair salon Three Squares Studio in New York City, spends his days off giving haircuts to homeless people who want them, I was inspired to start this in the UK starting in Havering. I began on Monday 9th November 2014 at the Salvation Army building in Romford and have faith that this will lead on to help many people in a great many ways. A big thank you to Mark Bustos for his inspiration.
3. What do you love most about helping out at The Salvation Army?
I have come to gain an enormous respect for the people who work at the Salvation Army. After many years of working with drug and alcohol dependent people I came to work alongside the Salvation Army where I found amazing selfless people who really care.
4. You started Haircuts-4-Homeless just over 4 weeks ago. What is your vision?
My vision for Haircuts-4-Homeless is to spread out the movement across the whole of the UK, where hairdressers can spend a couple of hours maybe once or twice a month giving homeless people a personal boost.
5. You’ve been hairdressing for 36 years and run your own salon. How do you fit everything in?
I have an established salon, I am one of the first Fantastic Hairdresser Salon Coaches. I am the business coach for JET Training and Essex Beauty Group. I help run the Sober Living Action Group and now Haircuts-4-Homeless. I also have five children and a granddaughter. I fit everything in by ruthless prioritising.
6. How many hairdressers are currently involved with Haircuts-4-Homeless?
I have already got eleven hairdressers who have agreed to help, one who wants to start it in Sydney Australia.
7. Hairdressing is such a rewarding and passionate industry. How can other Hairdressers across the UK get involved?
With the generous nature of hairdressers I am sure I will get a massive amount of volunteers. They can message me at email@example.com and I will get back to them with some advise on how to get started.