A Barnstaple hair salon is trying to do its part for the community by offering free haircuts for the homeless.

Prestige Beauty, Hair and Body Studio at 86a Boutport Street has begin providing free cuts for the town's homeless men every other Wednesday under trainee barber Sam Phillips and free hairstyling for ladies once a month.

It is also offering cuts with Sam every Wednesday and Saturday for anyone that might be struggling, whether with finances or illness, in return for a small optional donation to North Devon Hospice - it also means Sam gains vital experience prior to his qualifying as a barber in April this year.

Prestige owner Hazel Early is keen to give something back to the community and in addition to the haircuts she is hoping to begin offering a range of complementary therapies fir those who are struggling.

This will also include support groups for issues such as addiction or healthy eating and from March 1 a counsellor from mental health charity Clarity will be holding sessions at the salon.

Hazel said of her bid to help the homeless: "Being right next to the churchyard and in the years I have been trading here, I have got to know the people that inhabit the churchyard quite well.

"They have somewhere to sleep but in the way of hygiene and things like that it can be quite tragic."

She met Finn, a long term homeless man in Barnstaple who was self-conscious about getting his hair cut after surviving a vicious attack.

Speaking to the Gazette, Finn said it was the first time in two years that he'd had his haircut. He said: "I'd grown my hair to cover the injuries and it has healed nicely now but I had just got in such a rut.

"What they are doing is fantastic - nowadays, everywhere you go, people look down on you and say you are taking drugs, but to have an opportunity like this with people like Hazel and her team is great. There's no ulterior motive, it's people being nice.

"To me, there should be more facilities like this, not just the hairdressing - if more establishments got involved I think it would cut down on things like theft on the streets."

The salon is also keen to hear from any stylists who want to join its journey and build a self-employed career at the same time.

Hazel added: "We are screaming out for more stylists that want to help the community and really give something back, as well as build a career."

Find out more at the Prestige Beauty, Hair & Body Studio Facebook page or call the salon on 01271 375510.