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Barber to the homeless makes donations plea ahead of visit to Dunkirk refugee camp

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(L-R) Ged King and Andy Burnham

A foundation that offers free haircuts and care packages to the homeless community in Greater Manchester is asking for donations ahead of a trip to the refugee camps in Dunkirk.

Skullfades Barbers’ Ged King – who recently notched up his 1,200th free-of-charge trim alongside Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham as part of the Skullfades Foundation winter appeal – will be taking his unique homeless haircutting offer overseas in March and is appealing for donations of children’s toys and clothes, as well as rucksacks, sleeping bags and essentials which he will be taking with him.

The 32-year-old launched Skullfades Barbers in Sale in 2014, followed by the Skullfades Foundation in October 2016 to provide free food and haircuts for homeless people in Manchester.

Andy, who has pledged to end rough sleeping in the city by 2020 and also launched the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Homelessness Fund, said: “It was both humbling and inspiring in equal measure to spend time with the team brought together by the Skullfades Foundation in Piccadilly Gardens.

“It is one thing to give money to support people who have no home; it is quite another to give up your weekend to help them and provide personal care and attention to them.”

He added: “Watching the change in the people receiving help was truly life affirming. It was a whole community effort by people from all walks of life – from barbers to musicians to chefs. I left feeling uplifted, in awe of the generosity of the people of Greater Manchester and in no doubt, that, together, we will end rough sleeping here.

With an estimated 200 to 400 people sleeping rough in Greater Manchester each year, Ged is encouraging more barbers to join his campaign to help those in need and potentially change their lives for the better.

Ged said: “I care about people and believe life is more about what you can give that what you can get. Once I established my business, I thought, ‘what can I do next?’. I really wanted to take things to the next level.

“For me, that meant heading overseas. It was very humbling to mark the first year of the Skullfades Foundation with a trip to refugee camps in Paris cutting hair and took a young refugee who was also a trained barber under my wing. He cut hair with me for a full day.”

He continued: “As soon as I came back from Paris, planning began for Dunkirk. I can’t describe how heart-warming it was to see the difference a positive chat, warm clothing and a haircut to people who have left their homes and worldly possessions can make. We’re hoping to have a team of 12 and four vans full of donations on the trip this time round.”

The Skullfades Foundation raised over £8,000 earlier this year through crowdfunding and accepts donations all year round. Donations can be dropped at Skullfades Barbershop in Sale.