A Broome based youth worker aiming to give 1000 free haircuts to children in need in under a year says the idea came from how a fresh haircut made him feel as a child. Every Tuesday, between his day job as a youth worker and his night-time gigs as a musician, Patu Edwards and his friend Terry Setephano spend three hours at the local PCYC offering free haircuts to whoever shows up as part of his Sharp and Ready Cuts service. In June, Mr Edwards came up with the 1000 Cuts Challenge in which he, his brother and a few friends attempt to do 1000 free cuts in a year, roughly three a day. Behind the project is a deeper challenge though — connecting with kids who often don’t get the chance to speak to adults. Mr Edwards said when growing up in New Zealand he didn’t often have the money for a haircut, so instead he put money together with friends to buy clippers so they could do it themselves. “It was a cool thing that we wanted to learn, but it turned into something else — a good haircut gave us confidence and was a chance to chat with our mates,” he said. “You know, your mates will always rip into you and put stuff on you but something like a haircut was a chance for us to build each other up and feel good about ourselves. “From that I sorta thought oh well that’d be a good thing to do for kids here.” Currently in the sixth month of the challenge, the group has already completed 480 haircuts, but Mr Edwards said it wasn’t so much about the numbers. “It’s a good chance for these kids to have a one-on-one chat with us,” he said. “We’ll just be having a general chat and they’ll really open up to us about what they’re going through or issues they’re having. “It gives us a chance to talk to them about mental health and what they want to do in life, where they see themselves going in the next few years.” Mr Edwards said a number of kids had started to come back every few weeks to have a chat and a cut, with PCYC also offering a free meal. Having recently spent his savings on a caravan, Mr Edwards said the plan was to take the free cuts to remote communities in the North West. “I want to get a proper barber chair with a sink in there so we can take it out to the remote communities and give them all haircuts — get the elders in the chair and give them a massage and fresh cut,” he said. He said he hoped to do three-day trips, holding a concert on the third day and having a hangi, a traditional Maori method of cooking, and sharing the food with the community.