Lou Christou Teams Up with Haircuts4Homeless to Transform Recovering Addicts Into Trained Barbers

Published 07th Jun 2023 by Chloe Weldon

Inspired by his own struggles with alcohol and drug addiction, Barber Lou Christou of Thy Barber in Brick Lane decided he wanted to give others in a similar position a helping hand by helping to transform five recovering addicts into trained barbers. His 12-Steps to Barbering – loosely based on the transformative programme for personal recovery – will take place over 12 weeks. Beginning in June, it will feature five recruits from nearby Acorn House, a hostel for homeless people recovering from addictions and ready to face the world.

When asked why he decided to set up the project, Lou Christou commented: “I’d started volunteering to do cuts at Acorn House and it made me wonder if I could find a way to help some of the people I was meeting, I know that when I was first in recovery, what I needed was structure, a clear plan, and a reason to get up every day.”

The programme will run in association with Haircuts4Homeless after Lou approached its Founder Stewart Roberts MBE, who has equally battled with addiction over the years. “Once I’d asked around to see if there would be any interest in the programme, I reached out to Stewart who I’d met through my association with Acorn House. He knows himself the challenges that recovering addicts face. Barbering is a job that doesn’t discriminate like some other careers, and it offers a skill that has longevity – good barbers will always be in demand.”

Stewart Roberts MBE of Haircuts4Homeless comments: “The consequences of addiction can be brutal. I know by my own struggles and my 17 years in sobriety. Frequently, those affected will lose jobs and not be in a position to think about employment, which rocks their self-esteem and self-confidence. Anything designed to rebuild people’s characters can have a transformational effect on the future course of their lives and is something we fully believe in at Haircuts4Homeless. We didn’t hesitate to get on board with Lou’s 12 Step to Barbering programme and we’re looking forward to supporting the five recruits through their journey.”

Recovering Addicts Into Trained BarbersThe scheme has also been made possible with the generous support and sponsorship of companies American Crew, BaByliss Pro, Denman, and Matakki Scissors. As well as providing its resources to enable continued opportunities for the collective, American Crew has supplied the mannequin heads that the recruits will use for their training, alongside kit and products. BaByliss Pro has provided clippers and hairdryers, Denman has provided various brushes and combs for each of the recruits, plus branded tote bags, while Matakki Scissors has provided five of its Toya Scissors as well as cutting capes.

During the course of their training, designed to build a foundational knowledge of barbering, the five candidates will receive expert tuition from lead industry barbers. After their 12 weeks of training, the fresh recruits will then attend a special finishing school at American Crew Academy. Taking place every Monday for six weeks, a host of renowned barbers will share their knowledge in a series of seminars. Faces will include members of the Mark Leeson Art Team, Ian Harrold from American Crew, and barbers from Fella and Manifesto. The programme culminates in a platform presentation at Salon International on the Modern Barber Stage on Saturday 14 October.

Matt Horder, General Manager of Revlon Professional UK and Ireland comments: “When myself and the art team at American Crew heard about this project, we wanted to do whatever we could to support it. Knowing that it had the backing of Stewart Roberts was an even bigger draw – his authenticity and commitment alongside Lou’s obvious skill and passion for this programme is going to be potentially life-changing for these trainees. We wish them every success.”

Alex Burt, a representative from Matakki Scissors who joined some of the other sponsors at Thy Barber as the programme commenced, commented: “Initiatives like this are very close to our hearts at Matakki. There’s simply not enough support or opportunities for those who really need it so we’re proud to be able to do something that can give the most vulnerable a boost in life. Scissors are the fundamental tool these recruits need to master this craft and we’re honoured to provide them.”

H4H presents 12 Steps to Barbering with Lou Christou | Saturday 14 October | 4:30pm Modern Barber Stage at Salon International 2023, courtesy of American Crew.

Chloe Weldon

Chloe Weldon

Published 07th Jun 2023

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