Smile Together is once again a proud supporter of #EODay run by the Employee Ownership Association (EOA).

#EODay is the national celebration of employee ownership and a major opportunity to raise awareness of the economic benefits and positive impact the sector has on the UK economy. This is something we frequently celebrate as so often we find #EOIsTheAnswer and, especially this year, we’ll be drawing on the benefits of this to #buildbackbetter following the Covid-19 crisis.

Smile Together became an employee-owned community interest company in 2016 to give our talented and committed employees, as shareholders, a genuine voice in our business and its future development.

We’ve positively thrived together in this environment, generating and reinvesting our profits into creating healthier happier communities across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Our mission is to deliver dentistry with social impact and this sees us improving the oral health of thousands of children and families across the county, reaching as deeply as we can to engage vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities.

This ‘togetherness’ saw the Smile Together team coordinate and deliver Cornwall’s first Urgent Dental Care Hubs as chosen by NHS England – a significant challenge as you can read here and imagine being a newly-qualified dental nurse during Covid-19? These Hubs continue alongside our planned resumption of general dental services – no mean feat.

Covid-19 saw our professional support colleagues revolutionise the way they worked, keeping safe by working remotely from home in line with Government advice, adapting so quickly to new technologies and ways of working – we’ve even complemented our regular internal communications with virtual updates using MS Teams that we’ve all become so proficient with!

The teamwork, flexibility and commitment right across our EO company has been profound, underpinning our vision of delivering dentistry with social impact.

Unable to visit schools, nurseries and family hubs, our Brighter Smiles team found new ways to deliver their oral health education with a series of virtual sessions for children aged 4-6 years, and physical intervention too by delivering thousands of toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste and oral health packs to St Petroc’s Society and a number of Foodbanks across the county.

Following their lead, in line with national guidance and in liaison with our fabulous partners, our employee-owners are currently considering the delivery of other social impact projects in different ways, such as our award-winning Smiles at Sea. Their passion and dedication to continue making a difference to local communities holds firm, even in such difficult times.

Our proactive Staff Council of elected representatives and standing members has gone from strength to strength and together we have achieved more than we could have imagined, even during this unprecedented pandemic. Currently meeting weekly to keep employee engagement, health and wellbeing at the fore, the Chair of our Staff Council is also a Non-Executive Director with a seat on our Board. Only in an EO company!

Prior to Covid-19 we saw our employee-owners attending the national EOA Conference in Birmingham and regular regional networking meetings – something very different particularly for clinical colleagues to experience and which they thoroughly enjoyed – thank you EOA for making these so inclusive. We asked our colleagues why #EOIsTheAnswer and this is what they said:

  • How can you have a genuine voice in your business? #EOIsTheAnswer
  • How can we all have a stake in our business? #EOIsTheAnswer
  • What structure gives people a say in how their company is run? #EOIsTheAnswer
  • Where can I find informative and encouraging experiences of being an employee-owned company? #EOIsTheAnswer

We are really proud to be celebrating our fourth successful year as an employee-owned CIC, alongside others in the sector. And we’ve had scrummy fun celebrating EO Day 2020 which coincides with National Cream Tea Day 2020 – after all, we are based in Cornwall…!

 

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