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“It’s about trying to bring people who feel invisible in society back into the light, and give them the confidence to feel happy … I know a haircut isn’t going to solve a problem for someone completely but it can make them feel psychologically in a good place.”
Josh Coombes

Josh Coombes, founder of the #DoSomethingForNothing movement, uses his skills as a hairdresser to transform the way that the homeless look and feel about themselves. Coombes goes out on to the streets and offers free haircuts to the homeless, hoping to improve their confidence and make a small but meaningful difference to their lives. By posting ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs of each haircut on social media, accompanied by snippets of that individual’s story, he hopes to humanise and individualise the issue of homelessness.

He explains that one big barrier to break down is common stereotypes of homelessness – in sharing these stories Coombes hopes to illustrate how easy it is for personal circumstances to become influenced and altered. For this reason, he believes that the use of social media has been integral in spreading the movement, allowing him to communicate with others on a global scale and ultimately acting as a platform for the voices of the people that the movement strives to help. He adds that while it is fantastic that other hairdressers have also started to use their skills to support the cause, anyone and everyone can get involved, in any capacity. While #DoSomethingForNothing primarily focuses on the issue of homelessness, Coombes believes that the ethos can and should be extended to anyone who is in need of love and support within our society.

  Kenny before
  Kenny after
“When you spend time with somebody, half an hour or forty-five minutes for a haircut, you can get to know somebody, people open up to you. It’s quite an intimate thing that human interaction you have, so it can be really beautiful … I really enjoy that transition and seeing someone feel more confident, open up their shoulders a bit, lift their head a bit higher.”
Josh Coombes
  James before
  James after
  Dave before
  Dave after

#DoSomethingForNothing is about recognising the value of contributing time rather than money, and the unparalleled role of personal interaction in making others feel good. He believes that simply sitting and talking with someone not only helps to dissolve stigmas surrounding homelessness, but hopefully helps to make vulnerable individuals feel a little more valued, a little less invisible. Ultimately, Coombes hopes that the movement will motivate others by showing them that simple acts of kindness really can go a long way. As he says, “we’re not raising awareness, we’re raising compassion”.


Video Antonio Celotto
Text Alex Mascolo
Images Josh Coombes Website dosomethingfornothing

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