Siobhan Moriarty-Jones is a woman of action. Unhappy with the political climate and the social care funding and provision for her community (and the wider UK), Siobhan decided to use her Bedford City Centre shop as a Boxing Day base to do something positive. Siobhan, her sister Emma Richardson, her team, family and friends along with a heap of generous donations delivered help to the homeless and lonely members of their local community. Here Siobhan shares her story with MB…
“I chose to do this community day as I wanted to put my emotions from the current political situation into something positive and so people who may have otherwise felt unsupported by this country would know there are people who still stand with and for them. I have a very central space in the town centre and I’m hoping that by doing things like this it will help to inspire other businesses to use their space to give back to the local communities that need it. Homelessness continues to be a rising problem in all areas of the UK and it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon. As business owners in privileged positions we need to make sure they feel supported in their situations, even if that is just by trying to boost their mental state, offering them a cuppa and a break from the cold or a haircut and a change of clothes. While I can’t offer permanent solutions I can offer something to improve people’s general well-being.
I am very well connected with local homeless people and known by the local homeless shelters and groups, so they gave out my posters and put them up. My client base are all amazing people who donated more than I could have imagined and my husband’s colleagues at Kempston Ambulance Station got together and managed to donate a lot towards the day. My husband and I spent the evening of Christmas Day making hot food food and early on Boxing Day morning, we went to the shop with one of my daughters and got things organised. We opened at 11am but some of the regulars I know well were queuing from 10.30. We had a decorating table full of clothing, blankets, toiletries and hair brushes (kindly donated by Denman) for people to take what they needed. The glass front of our shop was stacked full of food donations for people to be able to essentially do a shop and gather supplies, we set up tables for people to sit and eat at and created an environment that was more than just a barber shop but a community social area. We offered hot and cold food, lots of treats and as much tea and coffee as they wanted. My staff all wanted to support the day too so we also offered free of charge haircuts and beard trims. We were also supported by local homeless outreach teams and a friend of mine who works for them came to help and was able to signpost some of the homeless towards the help they need. The first group to arrive were some of the homeless I’d consider to be my friends now and they were shocked when I told them that its all been donated by people who truly care about them. I think it really made them feel valued as human beings. The atmosphere was great, a lot of laughter and people looking out for one another.
This is the start of a project I will be developing in the new year. As barbers we have a skill set that we can use and reach out to a lot of people, as well as a premises to hold events. If you feel passionate about changing our society and contributing positively then you are in the perfect position to do it.”
Big thanks to Cavalier Club Barbershop!