Over 6,000 oral health packs donated to families and individuals most in need across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Our team members have been generously volunteering their time to make up oral health packs for donating to local charities best positioned to reach those families and individuals most in need. We recently marked 6,000 packs, with pre-Christmas donations across the county.
These packs include toothbrushes for the whole family, toothpaste, two-minute toothbrushing timers, a brushing chart and a wealth of information on how to look after your oral health and access urgent or emergency dental care in the county.
The inspiration for this oral health donations project came during the first lockdown in Spring 2020 when Smile Together’s Brighter Smiles oral health team had to temporarily pause their visits to schools, nurseries and family hubs across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, meaning that children and their families in areas of high decay across the county were unable to benefit from the programme’s toothbrushing clubs, fluoride varnishing programme and face-to-face oral health education sessions. Instead, the team donated the 4,000 toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste that they had in stock to local charities and community groups for onward distribution to the vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities they support.
This so inspired other colleagues that Smile Together put aside the funds to purchase thousands more oral health items for local team members to donate in their local communities and have continued to do so since.
As Tracy Wilson, Head of Marketing and Communications, explains: “First we needed somewhere to store these items, so Pirate FM kindly put out our call for a 20ft storage container and Willbox responded, providing us with a secure storage solution which they even delivered to our Harleigh Road Dental Centre in Bodmin. We’ve kept it topped up with oral health items ever since so that our colleagues can continue making up and donating these packs in their local communities. To reach the 6,000 mark this Christmas is fantastic and we’re all so grateful to the foodbanks, community larders, homelessness and other charities who are helping to distribute the packs to those most in need.”
The team at Smile Together Camborne practice recently made up and donated hundreds of oral health packs to CPR Foodbank and Coastline Homeless Service in Pool, Redruth. CPR Foodbank is a charity which distributes food to those in need in the Camborne, Pool & Redruth area. Camborne team member, Dental Nurse Frances Clarke says “The packs have been gratefully received by the many charities and community groups Smile Together are supporting through this initiative. Due to the cost-of-living crisis CPR Foodbank has seen a huge increase in footfall, so are very appreciative of Smile Togethers’ ongoing support. I love being a part of this outreach project as not only does it reflect our company values but most importantly helps and supports the most vulnerable in our community, which is very close to my heart.”
Smile Together Finance Manager Nick Findjan, who donated 200 oral health packs to The Old Bank Camelford Community Larder and Hub says: “They were over the moon with these packs and so grateful for our support as they too are seeing a huge increase in footfall at the moment.”
In addition to being an employee-owned community interest company, Smile Together is a certified B Corporation which means that team members feel just as strongly about their environmental impact as they do about tackling oral health inequality in their local communities. The oral health packs that Smile Together so generously donate therefore use compostable bags made from potato starch rather than single-use plastic.