Hair cuts for the homeless give back dignity
A FRESH haircut and warm shower are simple luxuries Byron Community Centre is offering homeless people.
Once a month, those sleeping rough are welcome to use the bathroom facilities at the old Girl Guides hall as well as see a professional hairdresser.
Team leader of community services, Cat Seddon, said there had been a "huge uptake" of the free service provided by a volunteer.
"Rough sleepers don't have access to the opportunity to feel fresh and clean," she said.
"They may want to go to a doctor's appointment, look for work or inspect a home and look presentable, which is something we take for granted."
Volunteer hairdresser Tegan Huntley began giving haircuts during International Awareness Homeless Week, late last year.
"I do it just to give back. It always makes them feel good about themselves and haircuts aren't cheap these days," she said.
"It's very cute. A couple of them write little notes to me saying 'thanks, Tegan, you've made me feel a million dollars', which is very sweet of them.
"The other week, one of the gentlemen I do hair for, he showers at the hall afterwards.
"He said, 'I'm gonna put my suit jacket on, and I might even find a girlfriend'."
Ms Seddon said not only did the program give dignity to those people experiencing homelessness, qualified outreach social workers were an added bonus.
"Those people feel incredibly valued and supported," Ms Seddon said.
"Those who may not ordinarily access mainstream services get the opportunity to access a qualified worker.
"It also gives us the opportunity to keep track of (homeless people's) mental health, because they come in regularly."
Byron Community Centre is urgently seeking donations of toothbrushes, toothpaste, nail clippers and women's sanitary supplies.
For more information phone the centre on 66856807 or visit www.byroncentre.com.au