Get to know Short Back & Sidewalks, a philanthropic initiative that began in Perth in 2015 and that has expanded to a national organisation that provides positive connections for the homeless community with free haircuts.
The organisation operates now in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and the Northern Territory, collaborating with existing hair service providers to create safe spaces, work to end the stigma around homelessness and boost confidence and mental health conditions in trying times, while changing the conversation around this topic more broadly.
“At age 15 I lost a close family member to addiction, who was someone who at times experienced homelessness. From that moment the fire of empathy was lit inside me and it’s something that’s been growing larger ever since, this fire of empathy is also something that burns brightly amongst all of our volunteering team, which is now over 300 strong across Australia,” said founder and Chief Executive Officer Craig Hollywood. Craig thought of the idea while considering the impact of a haircut and the counselling power of hairdressers, while having a haircut himself over eight years ago.
The initiative has helped 10,000 people in need across Australia and recently partnered with global hair movement and product brand evo to reach a lofty goal of 30 weekly services, and therefore 15,000 free haircuts a year, by 2025. The new partnership gives the organisation access to thousands of salons that will accelerate their expansion.
As the service continues to grow, it recently celebrated its Adelaide launch with a morning of 20 hair services at the Vinnies Men’s Crisis Centre on November 28. Volunteers from Maison Jacquet salon conducted the services, with sessions now planned every month to offer this consistent service.
The organisation operates under core principles of inclusion, collaboration, teamwork and sustainability, with economical practices that use the organisation’s resources to help as many people as possible. The organisation is volunteer based in every regard, and functions through the assistance of super-powered hairdressers and organisational staff using their skills for good.
With a seamless sign-up process that asks hairdressers and barbers to commit on a fortnightly or monthly basis, you can make this your New Year’s resolution to do something truly amazing in 2023.
For more information visit www.shortbackandsidewalks.com
Photography by Andre Castellucci
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