A few weeks ago we stumbled across a project being run in Perth called Short Back & Sidewalks that, at its core, gives those who are homeless and in need, the opportunity to receive a free style haircut. When we discovered what founder Craig Hollywood was doing we knew we to find out more. Craig was kind enough to donate some of his time to talk to us and here’s what he had to say.
Tell us a bit about Short Back & Sidewalks.
Short Back & Sidewalks is a project based in Perth that offers haircuts to those in need. Free of charge and free of judgement. Regardless of social status or acquired wealth, an individual truly stands a lot taller when they have received a fresh haircut.
What inspired you to start Short Back & Sidewalks?
The concept came at time where a few of our team were volunteering at various helping organisations around Perth. We felt that alongside being provided with a place to go and have a hot meal, people would benefit a huge deal with the option of having their personal appearance looked after too. A new haircut is sometimes an unaffordable luxury to people in need, so we felt that it was time to try and change that.
Were there any challenges with getting sponsors to come on board?
At the moment the only sponsors we have on board are the groups involved who generously give up their time to ensure that the needy are being provided the chance to get a cut. Without the likes of Westons Barbershop, Australian music producer Ta-ku*, Juicebox Creative, Perth photographers Ian and Erick Regnard, Hart Black brand experts and Babooshka Café, the whole thing simply wouldn’t be able to run.
How did you find the first guys to get haircuts under the initiative?
The cutting events operate with close contact with local service providers such as The Salvation Army, St. Bartholomew’s House, Uniting Care Australia, RUAH & Tranby. The clients are notified a few days before the cutting event via personal invites handed out to come along and get a fresh new haircut, on the house, at a set location somewhere close to the CBD.
A constant theme seems to be the increased confidence that a new haircut gives the guys. Have there been any “success stories”?
We think every single haircut can be its own success story. We just really love being able to see the changes that something so simple as a free haircut can make. From when the guys come in to when they leave it can really be quite an astounding transformation.
Are there any plans to take Short, Back & Sidewalks nationwide?
We are currently operating at a local level in WA, but that’s not to say the Short Back & Sidewalks project can’t be rolled out Australia wide at some point in the near future. In the mean time you can follow our project on Instagram (short_back_and_sidewalks) to keep up to date with our next cut.
Have you got any words for the general public?
We are now living in a world that’s increasingly dominated by things such as the number of friends we have on Facebook or how many likes we get on a specific photograph we’ve posted, which is pretty much how our project was able to happen. If you are in a community where this is the case and you want to help, then use it to your advantage. Get your friends together and involve yourself in a situation that with just a few angles of input, is able to create something that can make a real difference to people’s lives.
We think that Short Back & Sidewalks is a brilliant project and it’s great to see that so many local businesses and charity organisations have gotten involved. If you’re reading this and want to get involved in some capacity please head to the Short Back & Sidewalks website and get in touch with Craig. All contact details are provided on the website.
*The photos used in this article of Brad getting his haircut were taken by Ta-ku.