Richard Burke gets his hair cut by Vanessa Osment at the Hair Lounge in Maidstone
by Nick Lillitos
Job interviews can be hair-raising experiences but a Maidstone woman has got just the answer to boost one’s confidence – a free hair cut.
Salon owner Vanessa Osment’s offer is open to jobless men and women to help them look their best for that all-important first meeting with the boss.
As her sign in the window says: ‘If you’re unemployed and you need a haircut for an interview, we will cut it for free’.
Vanessa, who runs Hair Lounge in Thomas Place, James Whatman Way, said: “With people going through hard times, I wanted to do something to support the community.”
Unemployed Richard Burke, 49, from Loose, is bracing himself for two job interviews.
As Vanessa got the scissors out, he said: “I have just come out of the JobCentre and when I heard about her free cut, I thought that’s a good idea.”
The former retail manager has been job hunting for a year, but is finding the market tough.
He said: “I’ve got interviews to attend but I sometimes fear my age is against me. I hope not, because I’ve got a lot of experience to offer.
"It’s very kind of Vanessa to do something to help the unemployed. I’ve never heard of anybody doing anything like that before.”
Her offer applies for one day a week – on a Wednesday – and customers need to book at least a day in advance.
For men it represents a saving of £10 at the unisex salon, while for women it’s £15.
The latest available figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal Maidstone has an annual jobless total of some 4,200 people.
But how will Vanessa know if those who approach her for a free hair cut are unemployed?
“I’m keeping it simple and uncomplicated,” she said. “My offer is based on trust and goodwill. We will accept those who ask at their word.”