A RUNCORN barber is offering one-on-one chats in his shop to encourage men suffering with depression or mental health issues to open up.

Palacefields resident Odin Swann, who runs Odin's Barbers located in the Heath Leisure Suite, has just one chair in his shop which allows him to focus solely on one person at a time.

"It's a very small barber shop. I have chosen it to be like this for a very good reason - one-on-one, no interruptions chat," he said.

"I want people to know that it is a safe zone for people to come in and have a chat or just chill and play the X-box."

The idea came from when Odin was left homeless six months ago following a relationship break-down. He was able to find solace in the gym when his luck changed for the better.

He added: "I did mobile barbering when I was homeless and I still do a bit now.

"When I was on the streets I got to the point where I thought "I can't do this" so I started coming to the gym in the Heath Leisure Suite and got offered a room and turned it into a barber shop."

Odin, 37, has since built up a relationship with people who have came from clients and friends.

He undertook five months' training and completed his Lions Barber Collection online which enables him to identify mental health problems. Since September he has already referred a couple of people for help.

He added: "Because I was in that position I know that you can turn your life around. Coming to the gym provided me with an opportunity to open the shop.

"I’m qualified to recognise and refer people to the relevant services should they need it. But most of the time loneliness is the major factor. Having a place to go free from discrimination helps no end.

"I'm desperate to get the message out that even if they don't want a haircut they can come and play the x-box and chill. Whatever happens in the barber's stays in the barber's."

If you would like to have a chat with Odin call into his shop or if you prefer you can also call him on 07493 019428.