Homeless dental care hit hard by pandemic
In a matter of days, Dentaid was forced to postpone all its overseas volunteering trips, its UK clinics came to a sudden halt and all fundraising events were cancelled. Staff were furloughed to protect precious funds and the charity’s office – transformed from disused warehouse by volunteers just a year ago – stood sadly empty.
But what didn’t stop was the ever-growing need for Dentaid’s services. Day by day the charity received more messages from homeless and vulnerable people seeking dental care. Many were in severe pain but did not know how access treatment. So with restrictions starting to ease and facilities for homeless people beginning to re-open, Dentaid is working to get its two mobile dental units back on the road.
'It’s been such a sad, frustrating time,' said the charity’s communications director, Jill Harding. 'We had just started a series of new clinics in locations, including Bournemouth and Southampton, where there is huge need among the homeless population and then it all stopped overnight. The problems haven’t gone away and we feel it’s essential we start our clinics again as soon as we safely can. We are working with our partner charities from the south coast to Yorkshire to get dates in the diary for our mobile units to return. We have been heartened by the offers from dental professionals who want to volunteer and support our work, despite all the challenges they’ve faced. We hope that once we have everything in place regarding PPE and our COVID-secure protocols, we’ll be busier than ever throughout the autumn.’