Nelson and Colne College students offer free haircuts for the homeless at Church on the Street in Burnley

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
They may have thought they were simply delivering a haircut, but in reality, students from Nelson and Colne College Group were increasing the confidence, rebuilding the self-esteem and improving the prospects of a group of vulnerable homeless people.

The Level Two full-time barbers were looking for subjects to practice their cutting new skills on, and so styled homeless men visiting the Church on the Street charity in Burnley.

And when it comes to combing through future job opportunities, prospective snippers such as Gabriel Clorogar will be able to say their work made a dent in the shattered mental health rough sleepers endure.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Others may look at barbering and aesthetic professions generally as being a bit cosmetic” said Lisa O'Loughlin, Principal and CEO of Nelson and Colne College Group.

Pictured is student Melissa Butterworth with one of the homeless customersPictured is student Melissa Butterworth with one of the homeless customers
Pictured is student Melissa Butterworth with one of the homeless customers

“But for someone whose life experience has been full of trauma, poor health and rejection, something as simple as a haircut can make a world of difference and even act as a catalyst for an upturn in their fortunes.”

Mobile hairdressers have styled the homeless in city centres such as Manchester, but it is believed this is the first time a session has been held in Burnley. Past initiatives have also tended to take place at Christmas - when lifting the confidence of rough sleepers should happen all-year-round.

Lisa also acknowledges this could be the first time a partnership between a charity and a college has been brokered to help the homeless.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s a win-win, isn’t it?” she added, “the young people get a real life subject to hone their skills on and the homeless person receives a smart new haircut, which could make the right impression when it comes to finding a job or accommodation. It is one of those simple ideas that is so effective and it makes you wonder why it has never been done before.”

Lisa says that community initiatives such as this are a key component in the college group’s ethos. “Education is not simply about gaining qualifications and learning new skills, it is also about teaching young people how they can use those gifts to better the lives of others - as well as themselves. We push our students with love, so that they may share that compassion with others.”

Read More
Author of Burnley-based book Shirley Murley offers free online workshops to loca...

Gabriel (18) from the Marsden Heights area, is currently studying Level Two Barbering. The latter has enjoyed a huge boom in recent times – with a 16% increase in customers in the last year.

Gabriel said: “We spoke to a number of people who had nowhere to call home. They told us how much they appreciated the haircuts and someone using their skills to help them. I cut the hair of one man who shook my hand and said God bless. The day was incredibly humbling.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Annette Tattersall, their tutor, said: “The young people were all keen to volunteer and give back to support people by using the skills they have learnt so far to help others.

“The event was amazing as a tutor to watch, as they were professional, respectful and a credit to college and the barbering industry.”

Based on Bethesda Street, Church on the Street is a faith-based charity aiming to raise people out of poverty. Other activities include a food bank, needle exchange schemes and a children’s charity shop.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.