'Chataholic' hairdresser swaps stories for silence to help homeless people
For many, the hairdressers is a place for people to talk about upcoming holidays and family news.
But for one self-professed ‘chataholic’ from Dereham, she swapped stories for silence to help raise awareness of homelessness.
Jane Rice-Smith, owner of Rouge Et Noir on Norwich Road, carried out a sponsored silence from 9am to 2pm on Tuesday, March 26, at her salon in the mid-Norfolk town.
She decided to raise the money after being moved by the plight of a young homeless man in Norwich.
After getting to know him over the course of several trips into the city, she decided to do the fundraiser and aimed to raise a £1,000 for St Martin’s Housing Trust.
She said: “It was a wonderful day and was really one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
“It was emotional what I was doing and it was hard to focus on doing it. Being silent for that long, I felt my whole self was pushed down by the pressure.
“We counted down the final seconds and when the time was up I screamed and laughed and I just wanted to cry. When I finished, everyone hugged me.”
Miss Rice-Smith used a flip book and pen to communicate when necessary and customers were treated to prosecco and chocolates.
She added: “All I kept thinking about was this young man.
“It really breaks my heart that this young lad is all out there on his own.
“I did my sponsored silence for five hours but he is on the street every single night and day, going for hours without talking to anyone.”
Miss Rice-Smith goes into Norwich once a week, and started regularly giving £1 for a coffee or a hot chocolate to the man near the bus stop in the city centre. Soon she began taking clothes and bedding into the city with her to give to the homeless people she saw - and even took her family, including her two daughters, son-in-law and grandchildren to give out clothes and blankets on Christmas Eve.
Raising more than £700 before the event after collecting eight A4 pages of sponsors, she said she has already achieved her target and donations were still coming in.
She is planning to visit the young man again next week.
- If you would like donate still then please contact the Rouge Et Noir hair salon in Dereham or visit the Just Giving page .