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  1. Celebrating our Marathon runners

    April 16, 2014

    A huge congratulations to our 5 London Marathon runners who all did an incredible job on Sunday 13th at the Virgin Money London Marathon 2014.

    Over £11,000 was raised for our dental training programmes and we really can’t thank the team enough for choosing to run for us. Fantastic times were achieved by all:

    Patrick Allen: 4:24
    Tom Cross: 4:24
    Edward Hinton: 4:00
    Liz Ogden: 4:42
    Geoffrey Baggaley: 3:35

    And the money raised will go towards creating access to emergency dental care for thousands of people in East Africa.Thank you Liz, Patrick, Tom, Geoffrey and Ed!

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    Click here to find a fundraising opportunity with Bridge2Aid.

     

     


  2. Villa Rosa, Lake Como silent auction

    April 9, 2014

    lake como picYou are invited to bid on a 1 week vacation in the award winning Villa Rosa in Lake Como, comprising 4 bedrooms and private pool. The brand new Villa Rosa sleeps up to 12 people and is located just above the popular lakeside resort of Argegno, boasting incredible lake views.

    Worth €4000, the prize has kindly been donated by 4everlearning.com and Lake Como Properties. Don’t miss out on your chance to experience the luxury of one Italy’s most picturesque places!

    To place your bid simply email shaenna@bridge2aid.org by April 30th 2014. Please note the reserve price on this item of €2000 (£1650 as on 9.4.14).  You can view details of Villa Rosa by clicking here.

    Good luck!

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    The winner may enjoy Villa Rosa for one week between May-October subject to availability (and not including July or August). The prize does not include flights. Auction ends April 30th 2014. 


  3. Thanking Lindum Rotary Club

    April 7, 2014

    Six Health Workers trained in the Manyara region earlier this year have gratefully received their basic instrument kits which were kindly donated by the Rotary Foundation.

    Dentist and Bridge2Aid volunteer Barry Devonald presented his experiences with Bridge2Aid to the Lindum Club, who upon seeing the scale of the problem of access to dental care in developing nations and impressed with Barry’s outline of the work completed, applied for a grant from Rotary’s worldwide Foundation to match the Club’s own contribution.

    The application was successful and resulted in an incredible £3000 being donated to our training programmes. The money covered the cost of instrument kits for six successful Health Workers who completed our dental training programme in February.

    Barry Devonald

    Barry on DVP

    A huge thank you to Barry himself, who continues to volunteer with us and make a lasting change for thousands of people currently living in pain with no hope of treatment. And of course to the Rotary and Lindum Club for such a generous contribution to our work, of which more than 60,000 people in the Manyara region will benefit.


  4. Thank you

    March 24, 2014

    - Mark Topley, CEO

    You’ll hopefully have heard by now that we reached our Urgent Appeal target of £50,000.

    Back in January, we were forced to launch an appeal to get us through a particularly tough period in our cash flow brought about by two financial events which severely reduced the funds we have available to operate in 2014.

    We can’t thank people enough for contributing. The immediate response (almost £20,000 raised in a week) was a huge confidence boost to the team and a great encouragement. The steady growth in the appeal over the subsequent 8 weeks brought us into contact with supporters we hadn’t heard from for a while, but whose lives have been impacted for the better by being involved with the Bridge2Aid Family. We also gained new supporters and the organisation is so much stronger than before thanks to the response of the trade and profession.

    Reaching the target means that the immediate threat to our work is addressed. We have been able to fund five programmes between January and the end of March – resulting in 27 of the 28 Health Workers we trained being successful – more than a quarter of a million people now live within access of someone who can treat their pain thanks to your support and our efforts since January.

    To put the appeal into perspective, the events of last year meant we lost around 25-30% of our planned income for 2014. The appeal has helped enormously, but this year will still be a challenging one for us. We still have some tricky periods to negotiate, and we will, but we need the huge support we’ve seen to continue.

    It’s so encouraging that our supporters are continuing to sign up for fundraising events, and organising their own, like the BACD’s ‘Ace of Spades’ Casino fundraiser last week. The appeal page is also still open and I hope people will continue to donate.

    The message from me this week, is a huge thank you, and please continue to walk with us through this period.

    Why?

    Because we are making a difference.

    Because the problem of untreated oral pain remains largely ignored.

    What we have seen through the appeal is that the UK dental profession and trade have a strong affinity with Bridge2Aid. They have responded and shown that B2A is our charity, and this problem of untreated oral pain isn’t our cause. This is both humbling for us, but also very exciting – because we have a unique opportunity to push pack on pain and its prevalence.

    If not us, then who?

    If not now, then when?

    We have worked tirelessly over the past 10 years to bring access to emergency dental care to over 3 million people. Thanks to our volunteers and supporters, we have achieved a great deal, and have the potential to do so much more. But we cannot do it alone. 

    There will be highs and lows and tough periods in the days ahead. Sticking together, we will make it to the next stage where impact for tens of millions will be possible. Thank you, and please continue to support us!


  5. Building Hope

    March 21, 2014

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    Hope Dental Centre is our fully equipped clinic in the busy centre of Mwanza, Tanzania.

    It operates on a unique self-funding basis. The centre provides a wide range of high quality dental services with affordable prices, meeting the oral health needs of all members of the Mwanza community, including local residents and ex-pats. All the costs of running the centre, including the dentists’ capped salaries, are met from the fees charged and all profits made from providing these services are donated for the charitable purposes of Bridge2Aid Tanzania.

    Currently, Hope is based in a business centre of a hotel. It has no control over its premises which are unfortunately in a condition no longer fit for purpose. There is excess water damage to the ceiling and a tired approach to the building, leaving it unattractive for both current and new patients. We now have the opportunity to move the practice to other premises, just outside Mwanza town centre to the up-and-coming Isamilo area. The new premises are residential, and we plan to refurbish them completely, aiming to work to Best Practice Standards in the build and ongoing operation. Control over the premises means that we will be able to provide a safe, healthy and welcoming environment which will help Hope attract more patients and increase the volume of higher fee-paying treatments, thus increasing Hope’s contribution to Bridge2Aid.

    The project costs will amount to around £125,000. We have received substantial support from the UK dental industry which has given us the confidence to proceed with our plans, despite Bridge2Aid being unable to financially support the project. Adec UK (Bridge2Aid’s Corporate Friend) and Chipping Manor Dental Practice (a Founding Unity Partner) are leading both the project and the fundraising.

    Our thanks to the many companies that have also contributed to the project: Eschmann, Hague Dental, our Corporate Friend Henry Schein Dental, Durr, DBG, Satelec, Software of Excellence, Dental Directory, NSK, ASPD, Microminder, Midland Lead and Happy Threads. Because of these companies we have already raised the equivalent of over £90,000 in equipment. Chipping Manor Dental Practice is now taking on the fundraising role to source the remaining £35,000 – a fundraising site is now up and running at www.justgiving.com/chippingmanorshope.

    We hope that you share our excitement for what promises to be an incredible project that will result in increasing funds for Bridge2Aid’s work in developing nations. Please contact Project Manager Ian Stephens today if you’d like to support any aspect of the project, he’d be delighted to hear from you: i.stephens@chippingmanor.co.uk 

    The HOPE team

    The HOPE team


  6. Sea of Pink at BDA conference 2014

    March 17, 2014

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    Following on from a very successful Sea of Pink during February’s Dentistry Show and having reached our urgent appeal target of £50,000, we’d like to invite you to take part in our Sea of Pink celebrations at the BDA conference 2014 on Saturday 12th April.

    How can I get involved?

    By wearing a bright pink Bridge2Aid polo shirt which would carry your company logo – helping us raise our profile and demonstrating a unity across the British Dental Trade. 

    Wearing a Bridge2Aid polo shirt is an opportunity to let your customers know that you’re on board and keen to make a difference for thousands of people currently living without access to even the simplest of dental care. What’s more – we’ll also provide you with some literature support for your own stand.  Over 150 exhibitors took part during the Dentistry Show and we’d love to double that figure for next month’s conference in Manchester!

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    Shirts may include your own logo as well as Bridge2Aid’s logo. For any delegates wishing to be involved in the sea of pink but who do not need a personalised shirt with own logo, then general pink Bridge2Aid shirts may be purchased at a lower cost:

    Number of shirts Details Price
    1 – 3 Branded with your own company logo and Bridge2Aid logo. £20 per shirt
    4+ Branded with your own company logo and Bridge2Aid logo. £17 per shirt
    Any number Pink Bridge2Aid polo shirt without your own logo £14 per shirt

    Sizes:

    Size guide
    S Male 36/38 and Female 10-12
    M Male 38/40 and Female 14-16
    L Male 41/42 and Female 18-20
    XL Male 43/44 and Female 22-24
    XXL Male 45/47 and Female 26-28
    3XL Male 47/49 and Female 30

     

    Example of personalised shirt

    Example of personalised shirt

    There are already many companies taking part and we’re sure you wouldn’t want to miss out on this great opportunity, so please contact Kayleigh@bridge2aid.org urgently to place your order. Please include the number of t-shirts you are ordering, the sizes required and invoice details. For those ordering personalised shirts, Kayleigh will need your logo ideally sent in its native file (ai. or eps.).

     

    All orders must be placed by Thursday 3rd April and will be available to collect from Bridge2Aid’s stand (D11) at the Conference itself.

    Thank you.


  7. Introducing our London Virgin Marathon runners

    March 14, 2014

    Today’s the day! The Virgin London Marathon 2014 is upon us and this year we’re delighted to have five runners taking part to raise money for Bridge2Aid!

    We can’t thank the team enough for choosing to support our dental training programmes and wish them the best of luck for the big event. Meet our runners below and check out our ‘get involved‘ pages if you’d like to take part in an event for Bridge2Aid.

    Patrick and TomPatrick Allen and Tom Cross – Representing Team Henry Schein Dental is Vice President Patrick  and Equipment Specialist Tom. Keen supporters of Bridge2Aid, both have previously visited Tanzania with Patrick returning to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro with us! Tom is a member of a cover band and has worked incredibly hard to raise sponsorship money – including putting on some gigs. Sponsor Patrick and Tom here: www.justgiving.com/tomandpatrick

    Edward Hinton


    Edward Hinton
    – 20 year old Edward is currently studying Maths at St Johns College in Oxford. Edward has previously raised an incredible £7,500 for Bridge2Aid in 2010 when he ran in a half marathon. Sponsor Edward: www.justgiving.com/edward-hinton 

     

    Liz Ogden

    Liz Odgen – Liz is Mum of three young children and also the Business Manager at No. 45 Dental Practice in Chichester. We’re told that this will be Liz’s first and only marathon! Sponsor Liz: www.justgiving.com/Liz-Ogden

     

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    Geoff Baggaley
    – Dedicated supporter Geoffrey won a ballot place and has chosen to run for Bridge2Aid. He has already taken part in over 5 marathons for us – including the Berlin, Barcelona and Boston marathons last year! Sponsor Geoffrey: http://www.justgiving.com/geoffbaggaley 

     

    Wishing the Bridge2Aid London Virgin Marathon 2014 team the very best of luck!

     


  8. Voluntourism – who is responsible?

    March 13, 2014

    - Mark Topley, CEO

    Last week a Blog Post on volunteering appeared in my Facebook feed which has had me thinking.

    Whilst I don’t agree with everything the author writes, it’s a very thought provoking post, and one which strikes a chord with me in a number of areas. It’s passionate. It has a genuine motivation behind it and I’ve great respect for the author for looking beyond her experiences and digging up some truths.

    Interestingly, a friend of mine who also works in the non-profit sector and takes volunteers to do play-schemes in other parts of the world was asked on social media if he agreed with the sentiments of the post. 

    ‘Yes, but…’ was his answer. And I tend to agree.

    The B2A ethos of volunteering centres on sustainability – that volunteers come not just to do ‘good works’, but it is crucial to us that they leave behind a genuine legacy, one which makes things better than they were before, after the volunteers have returned home. Our dental volunteers are highly qualified people with specific skills that can be passed on.

    But in the past we have also taken teams of (in the main) unskilled volunteers. In the first few years when the practical phase at Bukumbi Care Centre was in full swing, we renovated whole accommodation blocks using volunteers. We also used local labour where appropriate, and many residents also got involved.

    Rewind to the beginning and you’ll find one of the drivers behind B2A was that the founders wanted to provide an introduction to developing countries and be a ‘bridge’ for people to make a contribution. They wanted to give a safe environment for people to understand what life in a developing country is like. For me, having had some hideous experiences in my early 20s of working in Africa (which nearly meant I never set foot on the continent again), Ian and Andie’s ethos and the B2A way restored my faith that it was possible to have a good experience whilst at the same time doing something positive for communities in Tanzania.

    Whilst there is no doubt that the work we did using renovation teams could have been done by others, in my view there’s a bigger picture that we need to be aware of.

    If people who live their lives in developed countries are to have any understanding of developing countries then they need to go to them. No amount of reading can substitute for on the ground sights, smells, sounds and rubbing shoulders with people. Talking to people, soaking up the culture and seeing firsthand what the challenges are is crucial. Study and reading are important for sure, but book knowledge will only get you so far.

    One of the fabulous things for me about what we do, and have done in the past, is that giving people an experience of volunteering changes their lives and motivates them to live differently. To campaign for just responses to issues that affect people, to speak up for those who aren’t on the radar of the media or mainstream opinion. They go home and raise money which helps to facilitate more change. Nothing captures peoples’ passion like being face to face with the beneficiaries of their fundraising, campaigning and hard work – it makes them want to do more, and it promotes understanding and respect.

    For me, the ‘But’ is all about the words of the great Bananarama – it ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it.

    If this sort of volunteering is to continue (and it will), what should we look for to make sure it’s the best it can be? While by no means an expert on the subject, I offer a few opinions here for first time volunteers and particularly younger people who might be headed for a gap year in July: 

    • Respect - we have to respect the dignity of the people we are seeking to help. Whilst the word beneficiaries is probably the best way to describe those whose lives we hope might improve from what we do, we need to have the utmost respect for their rights, feelings and dignity as fellow human beings.
    • Humility - unless this is your fifteenth trip – you know nothing about what’s happening. And even then, humility is really important. I spent around 5 months working in Tanzania in the 18 before I lived there, and I thought I knew a lot by the time I moved. I didn’t. And I still don’t 10 years on. Don’t be the cocky westerner who knows it all.
    • Learning - embrace the experience as one where you are going to learn. You never know where the lessons might come from or from whom. The great thing is that you will come back a different person, and a more rounded one if you are prepared to learn from every experience.
    • Ditch the halo - it’s tempting to think that the very important work you’re going to do is going to change the world. Depending on what it is, you’ll definitely make a contribution, and if it’s done right, a significant one. But bear in mind that many have come before you, and many will come after.
    • Recognise that you don’t know what you don’t know - reaching a state of conscious incompetence needs to come fast. No matter what languages you speak or how many guide books you’ve read there is always a lot more going on than you will understand. That’s OK, as long as you remember it.

    So in my book making sure the above happens comes down to the structure of opportunities, and briefing people well. That comes down to the companies and charities that organise volunteering doing the right thing – briefing their volunteers well and leading people throughout their trips. To be frank – as people on the ground the organiser ought to know better and it’s at their door that the blame lies when less than ideal volunteering like the experience our blog author has had are the norm.

    Volunteering has become sexy and big business. Check out any gap year websites and there are a load of opportunities there. Some make me cringe. For young people looking to do something next year, my advice is to make sure the ethos of your organisers checks out. Otherwise you could not only be doing more harm than good, you could be ruining what could turn out to be a lifelong of positive contribution overseas.

     


  9. Adams Dental pledges treatment fees to Bridge2Aid

    March 10, 2014

    adams dental

    Dr Alex Adams, of Adams Dental in Southgate, has recently returned from Tanzania following a very successful dental training programme in which 12 Health Workers were trained in emergency dental care and over 1300 patients were treated.

    Following Alex’s experience with us, the founding dentist has announced that his practice, Adams Dental, will donate all treatment fees to Bridge2Aid during two clinics this month to raise funds for our future dental training programmes.

    The clinics will take place on Saturday March 22nd and Saturday March 29th, and will also see all staff at the practice donate their day’s wages to Bridge2Aid.

    We cannot thank Alex and his team enough for their generous support. The donation is going to have a huge impact on people living in rural communities without access to even the simplest form of dental care, the devastating effects of which Alex has witnessed first hand. Below, Alex talks about his experience on our Dental Volunteer Programme during February, in Tanzania:


  10. A successful Dentistry Show

    March 6, 2014

    - Mark Topley

    Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Dentistry Show – a fast growing dental trade and training event held at the NEC in Birmingham.

    It was my third trip to the show, and it has been fantastic to see how the event has grown in such a short space of time.

    This particular show came at a very interesting point in time for us as it’s now just under 2 months since we launched our urgent appeal, and I was keen to get a feel from the trade and the profession as to the support that Bridge2Aid has within both groups.

    My overwhelming sense coming away from the Dentistry Show is the huge groundswell of support that there is for Bridge2Aid.

    I have said it before, but I really have run out of superlatives to describe the response we have had from the people who have come into contact with our urgent appeal.  As the Dentistry Show started, we had raised over 80% of the target, comprised of donations from people we know well, and people we’ve never met, from people who have volunteered many, many times for us to people who have never engaged practically with Bridge2Aid at all - the support has been enormous.

    During the event we reached 90% of our target, all thanks to the efforts of a number of companies and individuals. It’s a fantastic achievement and a huge encouragement to the whole B2A family. We’re really confident that we’ll raise the full £50,000 in the near future.  

    The Show was also a good chance to catch up with our corporate friends – A-Dec, FMC, Practice Plan, Henry Schein Dental, Cohen Cramer and Dentsply.  Corporate Friends are our most significant trade supporters – they are companies who have supported us consistently to a significant degree over a long period of time, and the Show is always a good opportunity to thank them personally and to see if there is anything that we can learn.

    We also held our #seaofpinkday on Saturday.  This idea was conceived as a means of creating profile for Bridge2Aid and also to give companies an opportunity to support us very visibly and very practically during the show.  I was so pleased that so many companies decided to get involved by wearing Bridge2Aid shirts.  Below are just a couple of pictures of some of the many companies who took part and it was wonderful to walk around the event on Saturday, myself also dressed in a very fetching pink polo shirt, and see so many people making their support visible during the event.

    The highlight of the weekend for me had to be the Amarillo video shoot by Practice Plan.  The idea was simple – have a lot of fun and goof off in aid of Bridge2Aid!  Practice Plan (our wonderful corporate friends) decided to shoot a video in the style of Peter Kay’s ‘Is this the way to Amarillo?’ and charge dental companies to take part in the video which will be very generously donated to Bridge2Aid. The result was hilarious and was a lot of fun to take part in. Watch this space for the final version coming very soon. 

    Finally, thanks to the show’s sponsors, we ran a competition to give away a Gold Unity Partnership worth £3,000. The lucky winners were Smiles Dental in Shaftesbury who will join our other Partners and gain a variety of benefits, as well as directly sponsoring the training of a health worker in emergency dentistry.

    Overall a fantastic couple of days in Birmingham – interspersed with the obligatory Bridge2Aid curry night - and I have come away hugely encouraged once again by the support that we have within the profession and the trade in the UK.

    Over the course of my time in Birmingham I was able to ask people why they thought there was such a great amount of support around for Bridge2Aid at the moment – particularly with regards to the urgent appeal. Their answers are very interesting:

    Impact – people really see that the work that Bridge2Aid does makes a tangible difference to people who are in genuine need.

    Sustainable – the work that we do isn’t just in and out, treating short term problems, it really helps people to develop their quality of life for the long term.

    Get involved – people love the fact that they can get involved practically with Bridge2Aid, and not just that, but that being a Bridge2Aid volunteer on one of our DVPs is a fabulous experience, and people make lifelong friends through it.

    Real problem – people can see very clearly that the problem we are dealing with of people suffering from untreated dental pain is something worthwhile, something that leaves them in no doubt that the work that we do together is meaningful.

    They see where their money goes – people were really encouraged by our communications about how we spend our money.  We clearly spend money on things that make a real difference in peoples’ lives and deliver benefits to our beneficiaries – a key part of any charity’s strategy.

    All in all a fantastic event – many thanks to organisers CloserStillMedia for having us as a principal charity partner again this year. 

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