A hairdresser from London has been giving free haircuts to homeless people living rough. Joshua Coombes goes out into the streets of Britain's capital, cutting hair and trimming beards to give them amazing transformations.
But 31-year-old Joshua Coombes doesn't just cut hair, he also talks to the people he helps, listening to their problems and life experiences, and giving them the all-important human contact that many people living poverty miss out on. Not only that, but he also asks the homeless people he transforms for permission to post their stories on his Instagram page, using the hashtag #DoSomethingForNothing.
For instance, in one emotional post, he wrote: "This is Chris. He was in a bad way when I first met him. A friend of his had passed away just a few weeks before... Sadly, his friend was one of 50 homeless people who died on streets in Greater Manchester last year. Chris was in the army for years. He spoke a bit about that. 'Things have changed a lot since then. .. I suffered with PTSD for a while afterwards. I didn’t know what to do with myself when that period of time ended. Well, anyway ... here I am.'"
He added "I cut Chris’s hair in an alleyway away from the noise of the city centre nearby. It was nice to share those moments together before he had to run on to an appointment. Before we left, I asked Chris his message: 'Have a little bit of love..spread it as much as you can ... do you know what I mean? We’re all in this together. We all came into this world the same way ... we’ll all go out the same way. We all end up in the same-sized f*cking box.' ... It’s important to find new ways of telling the story of people like Chris to create a change. I believe in art and expression to do so."
Joshua's Do Something For Nothing movement, which he promotes on his Instagram account, is designed to encourage people not to ignore or marginalise homeless people, but to talk to them and treat them with respect.
To raise awareness of his initiative, Joshua and his artist friend Jamie even travelled all the way to Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles and provided free haircuts to people living rough there. As Joshua cut hair, Jamie took photos and painted portraits. Later, they collated their images, rented space at a gallery, and displayed the artwork in a show called Light and Noise.
It's so amazing to see someone go the extra mile for people who have fallen through the cracks and been left destitute. So the next time you're out and you're approached by someone down on their luck, take the time to at least listen to their story and don't ignore them. It's not much, but a small gesture could go a long way.