CDS named Health and Social Care Social Enterprise of the Year!

Community Dental Services CIC (CDS-CIC), operating throughout much of Central and the East of England, has won the Health and Social Care Social Enterprise Award at the UK Social Enterprise Awards, held at the Guildhall in London on 8th December.

The award celebrated how the dentally led, employee-owned social enterprise responded to the challenge at the height of the covid pandemic, resuming patient care and opening some of the first Urgent Dental Care Centres in the country. The award also acknowledged how technology was rolled out at pace to support patient triage and oral health improvement programmes, particularly in the care sector, and community interventions such as donating toothbrushing kits to food banks and to homeless shelters. When dental care was suspended at the beginning of the pandemic, CDS responded by establishing Urgent Dental Care Centres (UDCs) across nine counties, through which 2,175 people were seen for emergency treatment. Oral health training was delivered on-line to almost 3k care home workers to help them manage the oral health of vulnerable elderly in lockdown.

The national Awards, organised by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) recognises excellence and outstanding achievements by social enterprises, businesses set up to for a social or environmental purpose that reinvest or donate the majority of their profits to meet their mission. From tackling the climate emergency to reducing homelessness, social enterprises are taking on some of the biggest challenges we face, using trade to change lives and protect the planet. They have also been at the heart of community responses to the pandemic, providing essential services from food deliveries to health care with many pivoting their models to keep on supporting the people they are set up to help.

There are 100,000 of these businesses in the UK contributing £60 billion to the economy and employing two million people.

Alison Reid CEO, praised CDS employees: ‘‘I am very proud that CDS have won the Health and Social Care Social Enterprise Award. This is a clear acknowledgment of how hard we have worked over the last 18 months to treat patients in very difficult circumstances, becoming one of the first dental providers to establish urgent care services to provide care to those with high dental need; Finding new ways to continue to deliver essential oral health improvement programmes digitally; Supporting a rapid transition to remote working to provide dental screening and reaching out to offer support to our communities from funding 38,000 toothbrush packs for people in the most need, to volunteering in vaccination centres and creating a production line of scrub bags! During the last year, our teams have faced incredible challenges and I am delighted they have received the recognition they deserve from the Social Enterprise community.”

Award judges commented “A standout application, we need CDS everywhere. CDS offers a professional design led service for those who would not otherwise be able to access it. It works with vulnerable patients including the homeless, people reliant on foodbanks and those special needs, making the journey easier for them. What they achieved in the context of COVID was remarkable” 

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said: “In what has been an incredibly challenging year social enterprises have given us a real sense of hope. They’ve shown us what it means to put people and communities first, showing real resilience and strength without compromising on their values, integrity and impact.

From taking on the injustices in the food system and using technology to support people experiencing homelessness to being on the frontline of supporting communities through the pandemic – this year’s winners represent not just the best of business but the future of business.”