East London Barber Snips Away At Loneliness With Free Treatments For Older Men

On 7 December, Luke Dolan’s east London barbershop was abuzz with excitement. Behind the glass facade, several older men sat, chatted and enjoyed complimentary haircuts, with swing music playing in the background.

Luke’s Barbershop was taking part in #ShaveTheDay, where elderly men across the UK were treated to complimentary services in participating barbershops for one day only. The campaign was spearheaded by TABAC on behalf of Age UK to tackle an epidemic of loneliness among elderly men.

The Geezers, a local group of men aged 50+ who meet each week to take part in social activities, took advantage of the free service. “It gives me something to do and look forward to,” one of The Geezers told HuffPost UK. “[It] keeps me out of the pubs and off the streets.”

According to Age UK, 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with friends or family for a month. What’s more, research from earlier this year suggested that loneliness and social isolation could be worse for public health than obesity.

Overall, there were 50 confirmed barbers taking part in #ShaveTheDay (although it’s thought that more than 100 got involved via the Facebook group). This means hundreds of elderly men will have benefitted from something as simple as a free haircut and a chat – and fewer men will feel like they’re left behind.