A HAIRDRESSER in Milford Haven is offering free haircuts to families who could not otherwise afford them.

Qualified stylist Megan George will spend every Monday at food bank charity PATCH's base in Hakin, providing free cuts to referred clients.

"Everyone is entitled to feel good about themselves," said Megan.

"For a lot of women, and men, their hair is their identity, but if they're struggling people will find money for their children but not for themselves.

"For people who have job interview coming up, it can also give you a massive confidence boost."

She said she also hoped to help take that pressure off low-income and larger families, who often had to choose carefully how they spend their money.

"If you have four kids and a haircut is maybe £10 for each one, that's the same as a pair of school shoes," she said.

First in the stylist's chair at the 'Knot Just Hair' salon grand opening on Monday, March 18, was PATCH volunteer Sarah Brown.

"This is going to be really popular with our clients," she said. "Having your hair done, it's that time out in amongst all the pressures you have."

Megan had the idea of helping this "forgotten section of society" following the support she received from the community as mum to a disabled child.

"Everyone was so good to me, and I just wanted to give something back," she said.

She returned to work a year ago, working at Van Dyk's salon, which she said gave her the confidence to pursue this new idea.

The salon was kitted out thanks to the team Todaro's salon, who made use of their extensive contact list to obtain chairs, mirrors, styling products and equipment.

Megan and her family then had a 'painting party' to transform the previously dingy former school room into an airy, clean salon.

"I spoke to Maria at Todaro's and it just snowballed from there, it's amazing," said Megan.

"Without them there's no way this would have happened."

PATCH manager Tracy Olin said: "It happened so quickly and everyone's been so supportive.

"Poor mental health is common among many of our clients, and for someone who is feeling really down to have their hair done and not have to worry about the expense is hug.

"It's not just a haircut, it's about self esteem.

"To me personally, having my hair done is one of my few luxuries and it makes me feel 'myself' again.

"It's giving mums a break at the end of the holidays so their kids can have a hair cut before the new term, and for someone attending a job interview this could make all the difference."

Also attending the launch was Mayor of Milford Haven Rose Gray, who said: "I thinks it's incredible, hearing about how this has grown from one person's idea to being supported by the community - it shows how hard people in Milford work to make things happen.

"People shouldn't underestimate how having a good haircut makes you feel

"But if you're in the position of having to decide between having your hair cut or having something to eat you're going to pick something to eat."

The salon will be open every Monday, and those wanting an appointment must be referred via PATCH by calling 01646 699275.

Afternoon appointments will be special 'quiet sessions' for autistic clients.

The project was made possible by White and Brittan, Pembrokeshire Building Supplies, Glyn Edwards, Jeff Arnold, Easy Dry, Aston and Fincher, Mike McCafrey and Paul the electrician.