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Haircut and a chat giving Inala Family Support Centre clients new outlook on life

Appreciative: Hairdresser Allegra Battiato (left) and client Sue Thorley. Photos: Mark Bowling

IT’S amazing how a haircut can add a new lease of life.

“When people have a haircut, or a colour, they feel great,” Family Support Centre co-ordinator Liza Dykstra said.

Last week the St Vincent de Paul Society-run centre at Inala introduced a free hairdressing service and it wasn’t long before the waiting room was filled with eager clients – just like a regular salon.

“It gives you a great feeling about yourself – a confidence boost that can be helpful if you are going for a job, or just for your dealings with other people,” Mrs Dykstra, a former hairdresser and now a social worker, said.

“And that’s very important for people here, because if they are down and out, if they can’t afford food and are struggling…”

The Family Support Centre provides support and advice for individuals and families facing hardship, and offers food parcels, Vinnies shop vouchers for clothing, household goods and furniture.

Often clients struggling to pay household bills arrive in need of basic groceries.

Cut above: Hairdresser Paula Grigg (left) and highly-satisfied client Nikita Rendall.

Introducing free hair cuts taps into a nationally growing program called Hair Aid Community Cuts started three years ago by Brisbane entrepreneur Selina Tomasich.

There are now 40 communities signed up to the project, with volunteer hairdressers donating two or three hours to give haircuts to people who can’t afford them.

Hairdresser Paula Grigg said she was only too happy to donate her time and her cutting talent.

“I’ve always wanted to volunteer for something – so this is it,” she said.

Likewise, Nikita Rendall was excited to be the Family Support Centre’s first hairdressing client.

“I love it,” she said.

“I can’t wait to get home and show it off.”

Another client, Sue Thorley said she also enjoyed the attention.

“I can’t afford to go to the hairdressers. So to get pampered is lovely,” she said.

The Family Support Centre is planning for its next visit by Hair Aid Community Cuts next month.

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