Fresh start for Bob | The Salvation Army

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Fresh start for Bob

Posted November 16, 2015

There was a dramatic transformation for one Wellington Hope Centre visitor last week – one staff hope will be the first of many.

Bob, a regular guest at the Hope Centre’s daily drop-in for the last six years, was the first recipient of a make-over, giving him a new look and fresh start.

It started when Bob and some other regular guests were invited to join a centre committee discussing ways to support the guests.

Bob suggested a makeover and staff decided he was the perfect first candidate.

Centre manager Ollie Seumanufagi says many of their drop-in centre family are homeless, socially isolated or have mental health difficulties. The makeover was another way to let them know they’re loved.

‘We wanted a day where they can be a king for the day and get that support and encouragement to feel special.’

Senior Services coordinator Kath Johnston says although staff had fundraised to pay, every business they approached generously offered free support. So, on Wednesday last week podiatrist Merron Wilkes cut Bob’s toe-nails and finger nails. On Thursday it was off to Kilbirnie Barbers to cut Bob’s hair and shave the beard he’d been growing all year and in between were visits to four Salvation Army Family Stores to pick out some new clothes. 

Although it seemed simple, the lift it gave Bob was inspiring, Kath says.

‘It’s been fun, really good fun. The thing that made me feel really humbled was watching Bob. He started to feel really good about himself. He kept seeing himself as someone different and he liked what he saw. It’s given him confidence.’  

Finally, after a Friday morning bubble bath, the grand entrance was on. Wearing a sharp suit and a huge grin Bob walked in to the drop-in and raised his hat to his friends, who clapped, joked and whistled.

‘I feel completely different, yeah, from top to toe,’ he laughed. People didn’t recognise him, he says even the owner of the dairy he visits every day.

‘I feel blown away. This all for the love, there’s no requirements, this is all for the love.’

Drop-in centre host Ondrey Moir says staff got Bob a bag of razors and other health and hygiene products, and they’re working on getting him new glasses, replacing his $2 Shop ones. They’re already planning the next makeover and hoping Bob’s experience inspires other guests to volunteer.

See more photos of Bob's transformation here.

* Bob has been in contact since this story was published and has been blown away by the response receieved. He wants to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and New Year and a big thank you to everyone involved!