A SELFLESS entrepreneur has opened up his salon to the homeless in a touching act of festive kindness.
Joseph Byrne, of Joseph’s Hair Salon, in Glasheen has become locally renowned for being a friend to those in need. For the last seven years, he has been affording dignity to the needy through free hair appointments.
On this occasion, he surpassed expectations by providing supplies, toiletries and selection boxes to salon visitors.
Clients included service users of Edel House which provides accommodation to homeless women and their families.
Joseph also catered for clients of Cork Penny Dinners, a charity providing hot meals to those in need.
Joseph’s acts of kindness are not just restricted to Christmas.
“We take people all year round, but this is the one day of the year we open it up for those in need,” he said.
“Every client left with a number of selection boxes. We also had a range of supplies prepared for people that included everything from toothpaste to shampoos, dressing gowns and pyjamas.
“We are aware that a number families are coming from a situation where they had to leave everything behind so these things are hugely important. Many items were donated by the public. We were really taken aback by the number of people popping in with selection boxes.”
Joseph is often touched by some of the harrowing stories.
“One man told us that Christmas doesn’t start until he comes here. Another told us that he spent last Christmas Day at his parent’s grave. It’s at times like this that we’re reminded just how damaging loneliness can be. Sometimes some hot water and soap can make a real difference. A person might come into us dishevelled and cut from being attacked on the streets. After having their hair done it will become clear that this person is in actual fact quite handsome, but was just destroyed from what was going on in their life.”
He emphasised the difficulties faced by families living in emergency accommodation.
“They might have a roof, but they don’t have a home. People and families in this situation have no freedom.”