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'People leave transformed' - Domestic violence survivors offered free makeovers

PUBLISHED: 16:01 06 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:01 06 December 2019

Lorraine Saunders, right, of Dawn's New Horizon charity shop, and Michelle Garrod, of Aspire Hair Salon, have teamed up to offer free haircuts and clothes for homeless people and victims of abuse. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Lorraine Saunders, right, of Dawn's New Horizon charity shop, and Michelle Garrod, of Aspire Hair Salon, have teamed up to offer free haircuts and clothes for homeless people and victims of abuse. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

A survivor of domestic abuse and her hairdresser neighbour have teamed up to transform lives, by offering free makeovers to people fleeing abusive relationships.

Lorraine Saunders' domestic violence support charity shop, Dawn's New Horizon, on Cannerby Lane, Sprowston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYLorraine Saunders' domestic violence support charity shop, Dawn's New Horizon, on Cannerby Lane, Sprowston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Lorraine Saunders, founder of charity Dawn's New Horizon, has first hand experience of escaping an abusive relationship.

After years of living with a violent partner, the Sprowston woman fled her home, hiding under a tree for protection until she found shelter.

Her story is not unusual. According to Ms Saunders, many abuse survivors end up homeless.

She said: "Often people leave without any planning, they have to grab what they can and get out. Without ID it's hard to find housing. Often they don't want to go to the police, because its been drummed into them that they are the problem."

Michelle Garrod's Aspire Hair Salon on Cannerby Lane, Sprowston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMichelle Garrod's Aspire Hair Salon on Cannerby Lane, Sprowston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The charity founder offers free counselling from her shop on Cannerby Lane in Sprowston, and assists people with essential items such as clothing, food and furniture.

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Now, Ms Saunders has teamed up with salon owner Michelle Garrod, to offer free makeovers to those who have lost their homes due to domestic violence.

Ms Garrod, who owns Aspire salon on Cannerby Lane, said a visit to the hairdressers was often the only time people in abusive relationships could speak without their partners hearing.

Lorraine Saunders, left, of Dawn's New Horizon charity shop, and Michelle Garrod, of Aspire Hair Salon, have teamed up to offer free haircuts and clothes for homeless people and victims of abuse. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYLorraine Saunders, left, of Dawn's New Horizon charity shop, and Michelle Garrod, of Aspire Hair Salon, have teamed up to offer free haircuts and clothes for homeless people and victims of abuse. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Sprowston hairdresser is trained to spot signs of abuse, and said: "People don't normally come out and say it straight away, but you pick up on things they say and spot bruises sometimes. When you speak to someone enough times, things do start coming out. It's natural that you want to help."

The salon owner believes that helping people look better on the outside with hair cuts, shaves and beauty treatments could have a huge impact on their lives.

She said: "People come in here with low self esteem, and they leave transformed. When you're homeless it's hard to take care of those things, and they can end up missing out on things like family events and job interviews."

The pair are hoping to visit shelters in Norfolk to offer the service, and are appealing to other organisations for support.

To find out more, contact Lorraine Saunders on dawnsnewhorizon@iclould.com

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