Town barbers really are cut above the rest

From left, Bobby Jenkins, Michael Baker and Ashley Caisley
From left, Bobby Jenkins, Michael Baker and Ashley Caisley
Carillion is one of the major contractors of HS2

LETTER OF THE DAY: Council must learn a lesson from Carillion

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HOMELESS people in Gosport have been given the chance to prove themselves with a makeover.

Rough sleepers have been receiving free haircuts courtesy of the barbers Pauper To King in Forton Road.

The owners wanted to give the rough sleepers the chance to make a good impression at a job interview.

Working alongside charities, Pauper To King has been able to not only run haircut days in-store, but provide free trims at Gosport bus station on Thursday evenings.

Owner Michael Baker said: ‘We wanted to do something like this as soon as we opened.

‘At this time of year, there are a lot more jobs around, so people’s first impression is so important in finding work.

‘The idea was to help those people in need who wanted to help themselves – so it benefits everyone involved.’

Pauper To King’s in-store barbershop day was assisted by neighbouring store Coco’s, where hot stew was provided to the rough sleepers.

Michael said: ‘We felt humbled to do this as a new business, and to be able to do something for the good of the community.

‘As well as giving out haircuts, we had a bunch of spare clothes lying around so were able to give those away too.

‘It helped us to spread a bit of positivity, and it was great to have Coco’s giving us a helping hand.

‘We couldn’t have done this without the help of Two Saints, The Family Church and Salvation Army, so we owe them a huge thanks as well.’

Michael added: ‘For the 
last month we have been going down to the bus station every Thursday.

‘It feels amazing to go out and do something like this.

‘We have been handing out coats, sleeping bags and all sorts of different stuff that these rough sleepers so desperately need for the winter months.’

According to Michael, this initiative is something that other barbershops in the region could look to replicate.

He said: ‘In our trade it can be a bit of a challenge finding people for apprentices to properly focus on.

‘Giving haircuts to rough sleepers is a way of getting them the experience they need to become fully-fledged barbers.

‘Our apprentice of hair Ashley Caisley has been able to get that experience with this scheme, so it really is a two birds, one stone scenario.’

The barbers will be carrying on with its work down at the 
bus station for the foreseeable future.

Michael said: ‘We will be continuing with the weekly haircuts until July next year, when Ashley finishes his apprenticeship.

‘We want to carry this on for as long as we can, because this is something that makes a real difference to people’s lives.’