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James Gash haircut

04 August 2017

Nightshelter resident donates hair to charity

A resident at Winchester Churches Nightshelter is donating his hair to a children’s charity that makes wigs for those undergoing chemotherapy.

After years of wearing his hair long, Nightshelter resident James Gash decided it was time for a haircut at the shelter’s monthly pop-up hair salon. Residents can get their hair cut free of charge by a professional hairdresser and James, who has experienced homelessness, decided that his surplus hair should be donated to The Little Princess Trust, which will use it to create real hair wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy or living with alopecia.

Haircuts at the Nightshelter are the work of Aideen Buckley, a professional hairdresser who volunteers her time and skills to the charity every month. 

She said: “James came in with incredibly long hair that was in really good condition, so I suggested that he might want to donate it to The Little Princess Trust, who really value these kind of donations. Those who are homeless are not in a position to give very much, however donating your hair to a children’s charity is an amazing gesture.” 

Aideen, 32, who runs her own home salon in Basingstoke called Hair Affair, has been working with the Nightshelter since Christmas 2016, when a friend suggested she contact the Winchester homeless charity to offer her professional expertise. 

She commented: “I had no idea what to expect when I first arrived at the Nightshelter but was immediately put at ease by the friendly staff and residents. I’ve met some lovely people whilst cutting hair there and have enjoyed making residents look more presentable for job or housing interviews, or just helping to boost their self-esteem and confidence through something as simple as a haircut.

“Hair dressing is part of my life, and such a simple thing to give. To Nightshelter residents it can make such a difference in terms of how they are perceived when they walk into an interview room, or even how they are addressed by others when they are out and about.”

She added: “I would encourage anyone who has ever thought about voluntary work to give it a go – it’s sociable and self-rewarding to help others and always so appreciated, as I’ve found out through my own volunteering.”

Last year, volunteers at Winchester Churches Nightshelter donated an incredible 9,200 hours of their time and offered an array of skills ranging from hairdressing, cooking and counselling to IT support, mentoring and even painting.


For more information on volunteering at Winchester Churches Nightshelter, please visit www.wcns.org.uk