Jill Harding Dentaid on the move

Moving anywhere, anytime, is a busy and stressful event but relocating a charity that has sent dental equipment to more than 70 countries and has been based in its current location for 19 years, is a monumental task. 
There’s no doubt this move needs to happen.  Dentaid – as you would expect – has always spent its money on projects rather than offices and as a result our 8 staff members have been working in rotting, temporary buildings that are no longer fit for purpose.  They are hot in the summer, cold in the winter, bits fall off in high winds and the weight of rain water on the sagging roof is frankly terrifying.   Although the village of Landford is beautiful, access to our site is a real issue and unless you need some lavender scones or high-quality granite in your lunch break then there’s not much around.  

This temporary building has been Denatid’s home for the last 19 years but it’s too remote, falling apart and only has on outside toilet!

Dentaid’s new headquarters will be in Totton.  Right on the main road leading into Southampton, we’ll be accessible, have decent wi-fi and even have an inside loo!  Funding for the relocation and renovation has been separately sourced and, despite the chaos, our work continues apace.  Just this week we’ve had a volunteer team in South Africa and mobile dental clinics for homeless people in Leeds and York.
Before we move in there’s the huge task of converting the mezzanine level of a former car bodyshop into the headquarters of an international dental charity.  Meeting rooms, offices, a kitchen and storage are all being created thanks to huge quantities of plywood and the most incredible team of builders. 

Downstairs (now we’ve added the staircase) will be our new workshop where our volunteers restore dental equipment that is sent overseas and make our portable surgeries – better known as the DentaidBox.  Then there’s the rooms where our fabulous retired dentists sort and package modules of instruments for our overseas partners, and storage for the hundreds of boxes of toothbrushes and paste we need for our oral health education projects. 
The best thing about working for a charity is that you get to meet the kindest and most generous people around. The whole Dentaid team has been over-whelmed by the support of our volunteers who have given up hours of their time for painting and packing, sanding and stacking and the hundreds of other jobs handed out by our project manager Andy – who is also a volunteer.

Our project manager Andy is leading an amazing team of volunteers who are transferring thousands of items to our new site. 

Then there’s Bishop’s Move removals company who have donated their team and vehicles for three days to help us move.  Lugging dental chairs, autoclaves and pallets of dental supplies into a lorry is heavy work but they have been so helpful and cheerful and we couldn’t have done it without them.   Thanks too to the volunteers from Testwood Baptist Church, Water Lane Dental and our amazing regular volunteers including Jim, Terry, Nick, (other!) Jim, Mia, Rob, Dave, Tony  and Adrian. They have made Dentaid’s very own episode of DIY SOS into a reality.
Next Tuesday the desks, computers and staff head down the A36 to our new site. Please bear with us while we unpack and find the kettle and telephones, but we can’t wait to continue improving oral health from our new site.