Over 500 more Cornish pupils in the west of the county will be improving their oral health in the new year thanks to the generous support of ITEC Group UK for Brighter Smiles, Cornwall’s oral health campaign.
The funding from ITEC will enable the expert Brighter Smiles team from Smile Together to work in Landewednack Community Primary School on The Lizard and Grade Ruan Church of England Primary School in Helston where they will set up toothbrushing clubs in the reception classes, apply fluoride varnish to the teeth of reception and year 1 pupils, and deliver oral health education to all the schools’ pupils with home education packs for all the family. The Brighter Smiles team are already funded by Cornwall Council to work with younger years in Bodriggy Academy, but ITEC’s funding will enable them to extend their valuable oral health education to all the schools’ pupils and encourage families to continue with good oral health care at home.
Louise Jones, headteacher of Landewednack and Grade Ruan Schools, both part of the Southerly Point Co-Operative Multi Academy Trust, said: “We’re so grateful to ITEC for their generous support which will enable the Brighter Smiles programme to make such a positive difference to the oral health of our rural school community, where many families struggle to regularly visit a dentist. I have seen first-hand the difference this programme makes in other schools and have no doubt our pupils will look forward to seeing the team and their dragons, and together with my colleagues, will really engage with the fun oral health activities which fit so well with our school ethos of Shine”.
Emily Wicks, teacher and PSHE Coordinator at Bodriggy Academy, is equally thrilled to have the programme extended in the school: “We were delighted to be one of the original Council-funded schools to benefit from Brighter Smiles within our school community, and to know we can now extend its reach to all our pupils and their families is fantastic. Thank you so much to ITEC for making this possible – we will have even more happy children, learning to succeed!”
This pledge from ITEC sees the company join a growing group of organisations committed to supporting Smile Together in addressing what has become a serious public health issue. One which sees around 20 children aged 5-9 admitted to hospital each week to have their teeth removed under general anaesthetic – the number one reason for hospital admissions amongst the age group but 100% avoidable according to fellow campaigners.
Kevin Roberts, Account Director for ITEC in Cornwall, says: “When we began working with Smile Together, and as a parent of a young child myself, I was utterly shocked to discover the scale of this problem, yet it’s entirely preventable. I am therefore thrilled that our support means so many more children and their families in West Cornwall will benefit from the Brighter Smiles oral health campaign over the next 12 months. Education is a key focus for our business, and we are very proud to work with more than 200 schools across the UK. We are equally proud now to be doing our bit to help reverse the continuing trend of avoidable tooth extractions from children here in Cornwall”.
Paul Critchley, managing director at Smile Together, creators of the Brighter Smiles campaign, explained: “When we set up as a community interest company in 2016, we turned to ITEC to support us with our IT requirements. This has proved a very successful collaboration and their financial support for Brighter Smiles demonstrates the true spirit of partnership in the way we both like to do business”.
Paul continues: “Whilst our contract with Cornwall Council, which has just been extended for a further two years, has already helped over 1,500 children in the most vulnerable areas of the county, there is still a huge amount of work to do in order to reverse this worrying trend. It’s therefore encouraging to see a 149% increase in local children seen by the Brighter Smiles oral health campaign over the last 12 months, working with partners such as Ocean Housing, Fuel Communications, Imerys and now ITEC. If anyone would also like to join us in supporting this campaign in a Cornish school, please contact my colleague firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you”.