Dentaid, a charity supporting people across Britain unable to access safe and affordable dental care, has put a smile on the faces of fishermen in Poole thanks to a £6,000 grant.
The Foundation’s Wesleyan Fund recently supported Dentaid in its efforts to reach some of the most vulnerable people in the country.
Dentaid took a trip to Poole Quay in July, providing treatment for seven fishermen which included a variety of procedures including extractions, fillings and dental screenings.
Pete, who has been a fisherman for 15 years, told us that he has been battling low confidence for several years. Due to poor dental health, he told us that he would cover his mouth when speaking to people because he had lost so much confidence. He last went to the dentist when he was 12 years old.
For Pete, time is of the essence:
“I could make an appointment to go to the dentist but then if it’s a good fishing day I’ll have to go out to sea.
“I’ll often work 18-hour days and we don’t get paid time off to go to the dentist. If I don’t go fishing, there’s no money for my family. I’m worried that because my teeth aren’t great I’ll need three or four appointments and I can’t take that amount of time off.”
Pleased with his scale and polish, Pete explained why it’s quite common for people in his profession to have dental problems:
“There’s a culture of just putting up with things and getting on with it. I know lots of fishermen who have been living with toothache as they’re proud people and don’t like to admit they’re in pain.
“The great thing about the dental van coming here is that you can get everything done in one go!”
We also spoke to Jane who volunteers with the charity after meeting with one of the Trustees:
“I changed careers from a Dentist to a Dentist Business Coach with the Institute of Dental Business and found I had more time on my hands, so I thought I’d get them wet.
“The impact of dental health on self-esteem is massive. To be able to make a difference is great, you see someone in pain and they leave with a smile on their face, it’s why you get up in the morning.”
Despite their fantastic work, the charity admits that even more needs to be done:
“The levels of dental neglect are high. People in great need can’t access services and they’re getting let down.
“Fishermen, like Pete, work so hard for little money just so we can have fish and chips on a Friday. They have no access to dental services.
“Seeing his transformation was incredible, he went from covering his face to having a beaming smile!”
Tina Costello, Foundation CEO said:
“There are so many vulnerable people across the UK who do not have access to dental care. I’m delighted the Foundation has been able to support Dentaid and I am sure many individuals, like Pete, will continue to benefit from their invaluable service”
The Wesleyan Foundation was launched in June 2017 by specialist financial services mutual Wesleyan and has already provided more than £715,000 in funding to over 160 charities, community groups and social enterprises around the country.
For more information about the Wesleyan Foundation and to apply for funding visit http://www.wesleyan.co.uk/foundation/ or https://www.heartofenglandcf.co.uk/wesleyan-foundation-grants/