Refugees and asylum seekers
Many of those arriving in the UK in search of safety and sanctuary struggle to access dentistry. Our projects take a charitable mobile dental service to accommodation centres and hotels where refugees and asylum seekers are being given safe haven.
Our work in this area started with monthly clinics for asylum seekers at Napier Barracks in Kent. Over 18 months we provided dental care and oral health programmes for hundreds of people. We also provided dental care for Afghan evacuees who escaped from Kabul when the Taliban regained control of the country in 2021.
The project grew to provide oral healthcare for refugees and asylum seekers being accommodated at hotels across the UK. We regularly run clinics at hotels near Gatwick Airport and have recently started new clinics at accommodation centres in the South West and Essex. Some of our patients have been children.
Every month our volunteer dentists provide dental services for families experiencing poverty on the South Coast. This includes several Ukrainian refugee families. We are also planning new clinics for asylum seekers in the north of England, working with local councils, charities and healthcare providers to identify and reach those in greatest need.
By working with partner organisations, we can help to overcome language barriers and give our patients any extra support they need. Oral health education is a key part of our work with refugee and asylum seeker families and we use our BrightBites programme to teach the importance of regular brushing, healthy diets and regular dental care.
“It was so great to see people getting help, being listened to, given care and attention and great service. That can be quite rare for those we work with. It was such a pleasure from our point of view to be able to help provide a solution for one of the problems that people are facing.” Support worker English Plus.