With team members located right across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly it’s not often that we can get the majority of us together, but this is just what we did on 4th May 2023 at the Alverton Hotel in Truro. Our first Smile (Get) Together since 2019, no thanks to the pandemic, so we were thrilled to be able to spend quality time with one another and have a proper long-overdue catch up.

We enjoyed an honest and insightful presentation from our Dental Director and interim Managing Director Jonathan Bouwer-Davies, who also introduced fellow Board members John Burchill and Mark Johnstone, our two non-executive directors; Vikki Johnson-Best, our Executive Director of Operations & Commercial, and Liz Winfield, our Clinical Director for Workforce Development.

We’d sent out a Survey Monkey ahead of the event to understand what colleagues most wanted to hear about on the day so in response to this Jonathan gave us a fascinating insight into the changing world of dentistry, both locally and nationally, recognising our outstanding performance and achievements in such a complex and challenging environment, as well as what the future might hold for us as an employee-owned dental CIC. He also talked us through our Articles of Association, recognising how important it is for employee-owners to understand their significance and the changes required to them now that we’re a certified B Corporation.

Our MC for the afternoon was our good friend and partner Chris Hines MBE who not only led us through the afternoon and evening, keeping us on time and well entertained, but also treated us to an inspirational presentation about all things B Corp, impact and sustainability. If anyone wasn’t already passionate about making a difference, they certainly were by the time he’d finished!

Similarly, Amanda Masters from Children’s Hospice SW (CHSW) gave us a heart-warming insight into their invaluable work on behalf of local families and children, and the importance of fundraising for this extraordinary charity. She was thrilled to hear that our Shareholder Impact Board (SIB) of elected representatives, in consultation with our employee-owners, have chosen to retain CHSW as our charity of the year for a further twelve months.

Some fantastic exhibition stands created what we refer to as our ‘Market Place’. This included Dental Sky and Henry Schein introducing a range of sustainable eco-switches in the surgery environment, Healthy Cornwall inspiring us to lead more active and healthy lives, and Children’s Hospice SW showcasing their Little Harbour Hospice at St Austell along with other ways we can support their fundraising. Our procurement specialist Holly Jones, who chairs our Environmental Impact Group, put together an engaging exhibition of all our environmental achievements to date and our future ambitions towards reducing our carbon ‘toothprint’ whilst our SIB used their stand as an opportunity to celebrate employee-ownership. There was also a Keast Mews stand for colleagues to virtually see our brand-new contemporary practice in Saltash if they’ve not yet had an opportunity to visit in person.

Throughout the afternoon and evening we held a fundraising raffle which included a £100 Mr & Mrs Smith gift voucher and hamper of delicious Cornish goodies generously contributed by the Board; a voucher for tea for two at The Alverton, kindly donated by the hotel; a £50 gift voucher thanks to Dental Sky; a goody bag of sustainable oral health items as sold at Keast Mews, creatively collated by our team there; a bottle of Camel Valley finest fizz; and two £25 M&S vouchers.

Tombola prizes had been very generously contributed by Smile Together colleagues and a range of their partners and friends including gin from Atlantic Distillery, ale from St Austell Brewery, fragrant candles from St Eval Candle Co, a £25 Amazon voucher from Dental Directory and an electric toothbrush from Henry Schein.

Thanks to the generosity of our team, we raised just over £700 for CHSW which has been added towards the fundraising currently underway by Dental Therapist Dee cycling CHSW Precious Lives Appeal.

Henry Schein also ran a timed intra-oral scanning competition which was won by Dental Nurse Sarah and Project Officer Sam (once we’d discounted dentist Liz who uses one on a regular basis)! Sarah and Sam each won a bottle of prosecco.

We concluded our Smile (Get) Together with a powerful short film about our B Corp certification and impact, created by Fuel Communications, followed by a delicious two-course dinner, with tables named after Star Wars characters given the date! During the evening the fun photo booth from South West Photo Booths proved very popular, everyone leaving with some entertaining mementoes from the day which we’ve subsequently shared on our intranet for all to see!

We really did have the most amazing Smile (Get) Together! A big thanks to our marketing team for organising the whole event, to all those who supported them, to everyone who joined us and especially to those colleagues who remained behind to continue providing our much-valued patient care.

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