As an employee-owned dental social enterprise, the Smile Together team are continually exploring new ways of extending our impact and reach across the county through not just the dental care that we provide in the heart of Cornish communities but through oral health improvement activities and becoming more environmentally friendly. This strong employee voice is what inspired the refurbishment of Harleigh Road in Bodmin into a purpose-designed, accessible dental centre for patients who need us most, our Brighter Smiles oral health programme reaching young children in schools, nurseries and family hubs, and our Smiles at Sea harbourside tour for fishermen and their families each year.
We’re therefore proud to be helping those in more vulnerable communities this Christmas by repurposing the funding that would ordinarily have gone on a Smile Together team Christmas party (which of course we can’t hold due to Covid) and making two significant donations. We number around 90 employees so for each Smile Together team member we’ve donated:
- £1350 to support homeless children via the national charity Centrepoint, the equivalent of 90 x £15 Christmas stockings in their 2020 campaign – see https://centrepoint.org.uk/donate/appeals/christmas-appeal-2020/
- £900 to St Petrocs who work with homeless people across Cornwall, the equivalent of 90 x £10 personal hygiene packs following support requested via Cornwall’s Christmas Giving catalogue and the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, of which we are a member and for whom St Petrocs is currently their charity of the year
In response to our donation, Tara Willoughby from Centrepoint said: “With homelessness across the UK exacerbated by the pandemic, we’re approaching the most challenging Christmas in our 50 year history. We’re therefore so grateful to the Smile Together team for their contribution towards helping us help more young people when they have nowhere else to turn”.
Jackie Davis from St Petrocs said: “We’re working so hard to end street homelessness in Cornwall and are supporting a growing number of homeless people who have nowhere else to turn this winter. This generous donation from the Smile Together team will ensure that more people receive essential support through both the Christmas period and into 2021 – thank you so much”.
Comments from our team in response to what’s essentially a £25 donation from each include:
“I think that is a smashing idea. Love it!” – Dentist Paula Souto who also represents fellow employee owners as an elected Shareholder Impact Board (SIB) Representative
“I personally think this is absolutely amazing and feel really proud that Smile Together is doing this and not just “keeping the money in the bank” because a Christmas party is not possible this year” – Tina Allen, Head of HR and Executive Lead for SIB
“It’s hard enough in ‘normal times’ to catch up with colleagues when we’re working right across the county and I’ll really miss not seeing everyone this Christmas, but knowing that we’ve each made a donation to help someone else is wonderful, thank you Smile Together” – Tracy Wilson, Head of Marketing and Communications
“That’s really heartwarming news and an excellent use of the money – a really festive and imaginative use of funds! Really glad to work for such a caring company!” – Michael Twamley, Dentist, Brighter Dental, Isles of Scilly
Our team have also stepped forward once again to voluntarily support the Cornwall Christmas Box Appeal with five boxes donated to the collection points nearest their dental practice.
We are also taking a moment to ‘pause for reflection’ at 1.00pm on Friday 18th December to think about those less fortunate than ourselves. And of course we’ve added our total to the #xmaspartyheroes to help amplify their national call for more charitable giving this Christmas.
Our season’s greetings to one and all.