“Our mobile hairdressing van has been a project in the making for the past two years with the project team consisting of individuals from East Ayrshire Churches Homelessness Action SCIO, and Police Scotland.”

Gayle Watson confirms: “EACHa is a charity that’s been working in East Ayrshire for 20 years helping those most vulnerable in our society and dealing with homelessness and recovery. So we thought it would be a great project to be involved with and that it would further promote the work we do throughout East Ayrshire.”

The charity is EACHa Cut n Connect, a mobile hairdressing and barber service that offers free haircuts to communities throughout East Ayrshire.

“The team is so happy to see the dream become a reality,” says Gayle, a trustee of the charity. “We bought the van last summer and it took several months to get it converted into a luxury hairdressing salon and to work out the technical aspect of running the service. We then went live on 4th March.”

It may not be immediately obvious how free haircuts can be beneficial to a community but Gayle says the advantages are endless.

“The goal is to reach groups and charities, offering high-quality hairdressing services to individuals who may not otherwise have access due to financial constraints or other disadvantages. But this service goes beyond haircuts. It also serves as a gateway for service users to access essential support services. If required, individuals can be signposted to additional resources, including recovery programs, domestic abuse support, and benefits assistance. This holistic approach underscores the organisation’s commitment to addressing the broader needs of the community.”

Cut n Connect partners with a variety of charities and groups throughout Ayrshire. It offers a free haircut, a cup of coffee or tea, and a chat. The charity will also be working with a variety of partners such as Police Scotland, the NHS, and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, amongst others.

The charity employs three members of staff – a hairdresser, driver and administrator. In addition, there are three voluntary trustees.

Cut n Connect is aiming to establish a regular pattern whereby it visits the same place every four weeks thus building relationships with the people in each community. The mobile salon will also attend festivals and community days, to further promote the service.

The charity is grateful to receive funding from the National Lottery alongside East Ayrshire Council Renewable Energy Fund. Organisations and community groups wishing to arrange a visit are encouraged to get in touch via www.cutnconnect.org.

The project has already received plenty of positive feedback which not only supports what it is aiming to achieve but is also a particularly good way of raising awareness. And to enhance the service further, the charity has also forged links with Ayrshire College.

“Ayrshire College is keen for their hairdressing students to join us for some experience working in the van. The van will then become a training and educational facility and it will be great for young people to have that on their CV.”

From the snippet of an idea, the roots quickly took hold and the benefits of this project are now highlighted throughout the communities of East Ayrshire.