Six women at The Gateway get makeovers with the help of local makeup artist

Six homeless women from Coventry were treated to a makeover with the help of a makeup artist and her team.

The six women, who live at The Gateway – Coventry’s primary homeless residence which is run by us, had the makeovers to help boost their confidence and self-esteem.

The women, aged between 20-48, were given the full treatment from makeup to hairstyling and even new outfits thanks to generous clothing donations from local residents.

Gateway’s Housing Support Manager, Gail Cooper, was inspired by Haircuts for the Homeless and after a chance meeting with Coventry makeup artist Cindy Bansal in a nail bar her dream quickly became a reality for some of her residents.

The Gateway opened in 2015 and provides 61 flats and two apartments for homeless people. It is the primary facility for homeless people in Coventry and houses people from all backgrounds including drug/alcohol addiction; mental health and family breakdowns. Residents 25 years and over are supported by The Salvation Army and 18-24-year-olds receive floating support from St Basils.

Gail says: “Homeless people sometimes get bad press. I have the privilege of getting to know our residents at Gateway, many of who have had tough backgrounds.

“For many of the women involved in this event, they have little confidence and lack self-esteem. I think the makeovers have helped show the women that they are valued and supply them all with a much-needed confidence boost. It’s amazing how putting on a bit of lippy can really increase confidence levels. I can’t thank Cindy enough for her support.”

Makeup artist Cindy Bansal, who is a business owner of beautycourses4u and a member of The Guild of Professional Beauty Therapists, said: “I’m extremely passionate about empowering women so when I met Gail and she asked me to volunteer and do makeovers at Gateway it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

“As a former beauty salon owner I love making women feel special and empowering them to become strong independent women.

“Yesterday was so rewarding. I loved giving all the women some tips on personal grooming, giving them all a much-welcomed confidence boost. They all looked fabulous and the fact they have all got a new outfit out of it too thanks to generous donations from the local community is the icing on the cake!”

One of the residents who enjoyed the makeovers is Karina Flynn, aged 31. Karina has learning difficulties and lacked confidence when she first arrived at Gateway.

Karina said: “Today has been such a great day. The team at Gateway and Cindy have made it so much fun, I’ve never felt so glamourous!”

Another resident who took part in the make-over is Divine, who previously worked in the beauty industry in London prior to becoming homeless.

Divine said: “I feel so grateful to Gail and Cindy. Today is more than just the event. They’ve organised this event in their own personal time which proves how much they care.

“I moved to Gateway in November and I really like it here. It’s so much more than just somewhere to stay. I’ve enjoyed today but it was more about taking part and being grateful for what everyone has done when they didn’t need to.

“Cindy has offered to be my mentor moving forward which is great. It’ll help me continue to provide pamper sessions for Gateway residents. We need to make this a regular thing to put the smiles back on residents’ faces. It’s definitely been a day to remember at Gateway.”

Gail and her team gave all the residents who took part in the makeovers a gift card to go out and have a meal together last night to show off their new looks. The team are also providing residents with make-up goody bags, so they can continue to practice their newly found beauty skills.