Free haircuts give dignity to those in need

A $5,198 council grant will support the work of Hair Aid Community Cuts – Geelong, which trains and coordinates volunteer hairdressers who give vulnerable community members haircuts.

Hair Aid volunteers connect with outreach programs to provide haircuts to people in need, including those who might be experiencing homelessness, unemployment, mental health issues and/or family violence. Some clients are from an Indigenous or culturally and linguistically diverse background.

Receiving a free hair cut at a time of crisis can provide a self-esteem and wellbeing boost and improve employment prospects.

Hair Aid Inc founder Selina Tomasich said the council grant will support the training of 12 dedicated volunteers in Greater Geelong and contribute to four locations being equipped with hairdressing tools.

Volunteers will provide more than 40 haircuts at each site every six weeks, totalling more than 1,200 free cuts over 12 months.

This program will make a huge difference to vulnerable residents within the region, who might be unable to access a hair salon due to financial difficulty, mental health or language barriers or family violence.

Brownbill Ward councillor Eddy Kontelj said that whilst the experience of obtaining a haircut is something many of us take for granted, the significance of it cannot be understated, particularly for those who are unable to access or afford it.

Receiving a fresh haircut, which is something everybody should be able to have, at a vulnerable time can offer a much-needed confidence boost, instil dignity and provide a social outlet, which is so important.

Fellow Brownbill Ward councillor Sarah Mansfield said the COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching impacts.

Getting a haircut is something many of us take for granted, but there are community members who are struggling as a result of the pandemic who might not be able to afford this service.

Councillor Peter Murrihy, also from the Brownbill Ward, said community members are directly connected with outreach programs while accessing Hair Aid’s services.

Council’s proud to support Hair Aid as it restores a sense of dignity in community members doing it tough, while facilitating a relationship with outreach groups who can make a positive difference in their lives.

Hair Aid projects send cut hair to Sustainable Salons, which uses the waste product to help soak up oil spills.

The grant was among 120 awarded by the Council last month under the first round of its 2020-21 Community Grants program, totalling $567,000 in value.

Applications of up to $350,000 under the $3 million Community Infrastructure grants stream are being assessed and will be awarded in February.