We are delighted to have launched our repurposed London bus today, together with fellow social enterprise Change Please, supporting the dental and oral health needs of homeless people in London though the initiative “driving for change”.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan lead a ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch the Driving For Change project, and tour the buses this morning ahead of World Homeless Day on Sunday.
The buses will operate a dental clinic alongside other direct interventions for those in need such as GP consultations, showers and haircuts, digital and financial literacy, employment support – all vital services for vulnerable homeless people.
Research shows high levels of oral and dental disease among homeless people, both in absolute terms and relative to the rest of the population. Untreated dental disease can lead to pain and discomfort with homeless people often finding it impossible to access dental treatment. Dental examinations are also on the front line of defence against a range or oral cancers and these often go undetected in rough sleepers.
“We’re making a difference”: As special care dentists with lots of experience supporting the oral health needs of homeless people, we have overseen the kitting out of the clinic and providing the dental teams.
Lorraine Mattis, Director of Transformation was at the launch event in London and says “We are delighted to be part of the Driving For Change initiative, bringing much needed oral health care directly to homeless people building on our experience in mobile dentistry and supporting the oral health of vulnerable people. It is fantastic to see social enterprises working together in an innovative way like this to directly address social need.”.
Driving for Change is an innovative and disruptive approach tackling homelessness bringing direct interventions to those in need. It was launched last Autumn to coincide with World Homeless Day and is sponsored by HSBC UK, Colgate and sub sponsor Mastercard to launch three London buses.
Despite the government’s ban on evictions, increases to Universal Credit and the furlough scheme, the numbers of rough sleeper have risen exponentially over the past 18 months, with an estimated 130,000 households made homeless because of the Covid-19 pandemic.