A dedicated homeless charity has received a helping hand from bearded men sporting floral decorations.
‘Rugbeards’ Damian Rees and Rob Hepburn have been helping serve lunch for people in need at the Hope 4 facility in Newbold Road, Rugby.
The dashing men and their friends have been decorating their beards with flowers and having pictures taken in iconic locations around the town ready for an exhibition at Garden Gate Flowers. The exhibition will raise money for Hope 4, which supports homeless and badly housed people, and the Matt Hampson Foundation, which helps people seriously injured through sport.
The scheme was put together by Simon Ainley, owner of Garden Gate Flowers, Matt Robinson, owner of Mister Robinsons Barbershop, and photographer Jamie Gray.
Rugbeards met with Hope 4 volunteers and guests last Friday to find out more about the charity’s services and help serve lunch.
Rob Hepburn, who works for Network Rail and runs his own beard product company called Fuzz Muzzle, was keen to help out at the facility.
“I think Hope 4 is a really great place and it provides so much help and support for people in need,” he said.
“I visited Mister Robinsons for a trim and Matt told me about the Rugbeards idea, it sounded great and I was more than happy to get involved.”
The charity’s new building offers washing facilities, showers, hot meals, support and advice, companionship and a safe environment to relax in.
Lilian Francis, a founding member of Hope 4, said the charity was grateful for the extra support.
“I think the Rugbeards idea is wonderful and we are very grateful to the young men for coming and helping out and raising our profile,” she said.
“It is lovely to see big strong men willing to do something different and present it in a fun way.”
Lilian said the charity now had more than 300 volunteers.
“This is a safe, friendly and homely place with a lovely atmosphere. We find that our guests look out for each other and there is a real family feel to Hope 4,” she said.
“We hope to be able to expand our services and we are applying for Lottery funding to help with this.”
The charity hopes to set up a clinic at the site to offer guests medical support.
Hope 4 is currently working with The Recovery Partnership (TRP), a Rugby-based organisation that offers support for substance abuse, addiction and other difficulties.
Guests can currently access TRP’s services, which are provided by the UK’s national drug and alcohol charity Addaction, where Rugbeard Damian is a team leader, once a month.
It is hoped extra funding will allow for a permanent clinic to be set up in Hope 4’s building, with continued support and services from TRP.
Emma Bailey, prescribing administrator at The Recovery Partnership, said the organisation had an effective and fulfilling relationship with Hope 4.
“A lot of people who access our service also need to visit Hope 4,” she said.
“It is a fantastic facility and guests seem very content which is really important.
“We currently run a monthly clinic with Hope 4 and we hope it can become a permanent set up.”