Salon gives free makeovers to 15 homeless women in Northampton for International Women's Day

Sandra Clark, 48 has lived in Oasis House since August after camping in the graveyard opposite Oasis House. It's the first time she has had her haircut since her daughter's wedding three years ago.
Sandra Clark, 48 has lived in Oasis House since August after camping in the graveyard opposite Oasis House. It's the first time she has had her haircut since her daughter's wedding three years ago.

A hair salon in Northampton has pampered and preened 15 homeless women in a bid to empower them for International Women's Day.

Shades in Gold Street shut its doors for two hours on Wednesday (March 7) and gave haircuts, blow drys, facials and manicures to 15 women who reside at Oasis House, or in supported housing.

Sandra had her hair cut and her eyebrows waxed. She said she felt great.

Sandra had her hair cut and her eyebrows waxed. She said she felt great.

While the women indulged in their free treatments, they had time to write poems about female empowerment and were given free burritos from nearby Mexicasa for a lunchtime treat.

Lucy Mbugua, 42, had her hair cut and styled by one of Shades nine staff members who offered a helping hand on the day.

She found herself homeless in February 2017 and resided in a tent in Victoria Park before she became increasingly ill with pneumonia.

Lucy loves to read and used the library in Abington Street to brush her teeth and take a shower.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

She felt it was a place where she could keep herself warm between morning, noon and late evening.

She said: "Looking at me, I was physically okay but I was dying inside."

She was eventually found by an outreach member from the Hope Centre who gave Lucy a roof over her head, where she has since lived for six months.

Lucy now volunteers at the soup kitchen in Ash Street where she takes time to clean before the breakfast club on Fridays and also enjoys gardening with Hope Tools.

Lucy before her cut and up-do.

Lucy before her cut and up-do.

Owner of Shades, Zarka Raza, said: "In these extreme weather conditions, I thought that this could help to put a smile on their faces.

"I can’t even guess when would have been the last time they went to a salon to have a proper, wash, cut and a blow dry."

The salon also organised to send the women home with shampoo and conditioner so they could have enough supplies for the next few weeks.

The event was organised by the Hope Centre who wanted to help build their confidence, as part of International Women’s Day celebrations.

Pictured Lucy after her cut and up-do. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictured Lucy after her cut and up-do. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Joanna McColgan works at the Hope Centre, she said: "Women are a minority in the homeless community, so when they come together it is empowering."

The salon also opened up again for a few hours at night to host a pamper session with funds going towards the Hope Centre.

Salon bosses, Hope Centre staff and ladies who took part in the International Women's Day event. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Salon bosses, Hope Centre staff and ladies who took part in the International Women's Day event. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.