By Shannon Lane @shannonroselane
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Videographer / Director: Marcus Cooper
Producer: Shannon Lane, Ruby Coote
Editor: Marcus Cooper
With the number of people sleeping rough on a steady rise, hairdresser Josh Coombes is providing the haircuts as part of his campaign #DoSomethingForNothing.
Josh said: “Do Something For Nothing was born in 2015, when I started going to the street with my scissors to cut hair for people who needed it.”
According to Crises UK there were an estimated 4,134 people sleeping rough in England on a single night in the Autumn of 2016 - a rise of 16% since 2015.
The London based CHAIN database figure is even more shocking, showing London rough sleeping levels having risen 104% since 2010.
The hairdresser said: “Really, the main thing is the conversation. I was talking to homeless people a lot in London and seeing this issue, I went to help this problem and the magnitude of it and I didn’t want it just to be about me.
“It is about direct impact, and it’s incredible to see the ways it has taken off and how people like Jade are now involved.”
Veterinarian Jade Statt is one of the directors of Street Vet Ltd, a service where vets and veterinary nurses go to the streets and aid rough sleepers’ dogs.
Jade and Josh have been walking the streets of London as a duo, to help both the animals and people living on the streets. Most recently they walked around Shoreditch, East London in search for those who could use their help.
The Hertfordshire based vet said: “When I met a street dog, that was kind of where it started. It had really bad skin and the owner said that he really needed treatment but he didn’t know how to get the treatment, and I was like, 'I can help you.'”
The pair travel with backpacks filled with their supplies; Jade has everything from antibiotics to dog treats, and Josh has all of his hairdressing equipment.
The main focus of the campaign is to encourage people to do something for nothing, and to show that a small gesture can make a huge difference.
Josh said: “I’ve found really positive interactions with the public when I am doing this, and it acts as a gateway for people to see what you're doing, and see what you're getting up to.
“For me I really believe in telling people about it. I really believe in the stories of the people I meet, I think that’s what dissolves the stereotypes and lifts the stigmas that a lot of people have about certain type of issues."
Not only has their work helped many people across the UK, but the pair feel it has also benefitted their own lives.
Josh said: “I don’t believe what I am doing is a charity necessarily, it is really about connecting with people. It's about what you get in return - like I am the happiest I have been doing this and it's okay to recognise that."
Jade added: “Definitely the most fulfilling part of my career today is doing street vet.”
The hairdresser has extended his selfless work overseas and is currently visiting the rough sleepers of New York.