Derry barbers offering free haircuts for people struggling this Christmas
Blade Barber Co. are offering free haircuts for people in Derry who are struggling in any way this Christmas.
The free haircuts are available from now until Christmas for people who are struggling with their mental health, have money problems or would simply like someone to talk to. Kevin Galbraith is the owner and he shared the offer with Kindness of Strangers, a charity who help people who are struggling as well as families and children in kinship care. The charity shared the message on Facebook and people were touched by the offer.
Kevin said, “The past few years I’ve been doing wee bits for the Kindness of Strangers, I think around this time of year a lot of people are struggling and that has been made worse by the pandemic. I thought, it’s not much, but a free haircut for people who are struggling goes a long way.
“We’ve had a few people contact us about it already, people whose sons suffer from depression so we invite them in where they can chat to myself or one of the boys. It just helps them get out of the house and they can talk to people who understand and can cheer them up a bit.
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“I’m doing a draw for Foyle Search and Rescue at the minute too, you pay £8 for the draw and the winner gets a years worth of free haircuts. The draw is happening soon with all proceeds going to Foyle Search and Rescue so if anyone wants to come in and make donations, I will put the money in that draw. Derry’s a great city for people coming together so some people have said they will give donations for other people to get their hair cut but I’m going to give those donations to Foyle Search and Rescue too.
“We have only been open for two years now and, since April we are the busiest we’ve ever been. We have built up a great clientele so offering free haircuts isn’t going to but us out of business. We’re only doing this Monday to Thursday from now to December and between all the barbers, it won’t be much but we are doing what we can to help those who need it.
“I know that a lot of people who are struggling might be a bit ashamed to message the page or they might see it as a handout but everything is handled confidentially and we are doing this for those people. This isn’t just for people who are struggling financially, we know that people have struggles with their mental health and family struggles and other things and we’re here for them too. People’s mental health took a hit with lockdown and some people are just in the house all the time so this is an excuse to get people out and talking to people face-to-face.
“You would be shocked at how people open up when you’re cutting their hair. I opened the shop in the hopes that it would be community based. I want people to come in an chill out, there’s a playstation and we offer a complimentary drink whether that be a beer, a tea or a coffee. People come in then every so often and they open up about their relationships or other things that are frying their heads. I’ve always wanted that where people can come in and sit and have a chat so I love when people share their struggles.
“A lot of men don’t open up or feel vulnerable but they can do that when they are in with us getting their hair cut. I’m so honoured that people share thing with me and it makes it all worth it. I love coming to work, it’s the best job to have!”
Kindness of Strangers receive depend on the local community to be able to provide for members of society who are struggling. They say offers like Kevin’s go a long way to help those who are in need.
Kinship CEO Jacqueline Williamson said, “Kevin has been a kind stranger to us for a while. He came in the year before last with lots of vouchers for a free haircut and a monetary donation so he is truly supportive of the work we do both in the community and with children and families.
“Kindness of Strangers is a social enterprise and we take in donations from Kind Strangers. We have to raise money for services for children here locally. We have a Kinship care centre at 67 Carlisle Road, where we give out donations to people in the community who might be in need of a helping hand. That would include furniture, vouchers and the likes so Kevin is one of the kind donors who came in to support strangers in the local community. It’s a pleasure to us to take his kind gesture and put it out there. There are a lot of people on our facebook page who would be in need of support in the run up to Christmas an Kevin has provided that.”
To avail from the free haircuts, visit Blade Barber Co on Facebook or call into the shop beside McGinleys Spar on the Buncrana Road