Well Connected is passionate about protecting the health and wellbeing of all the wonderful people and organisations we work with, as well as our own team.
In light of the challenging times we find ourselves in at present, all staff will be working remotely as of Monday 23rd March 2020, for the foreseeable future; and our office will be closed. We will all still be working however, so please stay in touch.
Stay well and do keep in contact via social media – @wellconnectedsw.
Let’s look after each other and get through this together.
We look forward to seeing you all on the other side of Covid-19.
We are incredibly excited to present to you our very first newsletter! Sit back and relax, we hope you enjoy reading our news.
Click here to access our wonderful Winter newsletter
We are incredibly excited to present to you our very first newsletter! Sit back and relax, we hope you enjoy reading our news.
Click here to access our awesome Autumn newsletter
Charity Bike Ride
Friday 13th September saw an intrepid team of Well Connected supporters leave Okehampton to cycle the 35 miles to Plymouth to raise funds for us!
Click here to access the blog written by our friends at Hartley Dental
We've been accredited by the Workplace Wellbeing Charter
We’ve been accredited by the Workplace Wellbeing Charter
Well Connected has been accredited by the Workplace Wellbeing Charter, the national accreditation standard that recognises an organisation’s commitment to improving the lives of those who work there.
We received this accreditation on 19th December 2018, following an extensive process of site visits, evidence gathering, staff interviews and a final assessment.
At Well Connected, we believe that our workforce is our greatest asset, and this accreditation demonstrates our commitment to creating a culture that values health and wellbeing. As part of the accreditation, we were assessed against a set of eight topic areas which ranged from leadership and absence management to physical activity and healthy eating. With this accreditation, we are proud to say that we are leading a
healthy and happy workforce.
Marking 10 years of community engagement
Marking 10 years of community engagement at Peninsula Dental School
Since 2008, hundreds of students and members of the local community have benefited from the dental school’s pioneering community engagement model.
In 2006, Professor Liz Kay came to the University of Plymouth as the inaugural Dean of the Peninsula Dental School – the first dental school to be established in the UK for 40 years. Building on her research, she introduced a new model of dental education, focused on primary care, clinician-led teaching, and a desire to benefit the local community. She wanted to give students hands-on experience helping the people overcome oral health inequality, so in 2008 she set up a community engagement team – which has grown from two staff to a team helping dozens of local organisations.
Wendy Smith and Nicola Brown were the first two people in the Community Engagement team at Peninsula Dental School.
Having grown from a team of two to a team of eight, and transitioned into new charity Well Connected to help advance community relations, both have worked on a huge range of projects – and Wendy’s work led to her being awarded an MBE in 2018 New Year’s Honours.
“Our first role was to recruit patients for the Devonport Dental Education Facility, where University students would treat real-life patients under the supervision of clinicians. We have since gone on to create new and exciting community based projects which raise the profile of oral health, as well as giving students the chance to go into the community and help people overcome oral health inequality.”
For further information on what we have accomplished over the last 10 years click here
We're on the move
As of 25/09/2018, our new contact details are as follows:
Scott Business Park
Beacon Park Road
(01752) 981 071
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
IPE2 Coordinator Reflection
This year saw seventy-three 2nd year students deliver meaningful and interesting interventions alongside ten host organisations for their Inter-Professional Engagement module. During this time, students distributed over four hundred oral health packs amongst the local community during the interventions. Dental Champion Training sessions were delivered by three of the groups to over twenty-five members of staff from various host organisations, along with seven creative, interactive workshops, to over one hundred and seventy individual adults and children, covering topics from dementia awareness, key oral health messages, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle choices and raising career aspirations. Students also delivered a lesson to a class of seven young adults with mild learning difficulties, looking at infection control and personal hygiene routines. Whilst another group held a triage at two local homeless support centres, resulting in twenty residents receiving appointments for follow up treatment.
Students were able to gain a better understanding of the barriers faced by many local families in maintaining good oral health routines and by distributing oral health packs as part of the interventions, students ensured families who attended could begin these routines immediately, at home.
Upon completion of the module a variety of resources were created for future use, including a diary insert for staff containing quick reference oral health advice, a top tips poster, Microbes on the Move toolkit teaching infection control and hygiene routines and a dental song sheet, which is currently in use at Barnardos Children’s Centres across the city.
A successful symposium took place on Tuesday 24th April where students presented their projects using creative and engaging presentations to an expert panel and audience.
Experience Days, Dentsoc and us
We are delighted that Dentsoc have been supporting us during the past academic year and named us as their charity of choice; we have received donations from raffles and a cake sale which have enabled us to deliver community based activities.
They in turn have been supported by Experience Days who have recently donated a £50 Experience Days voucher for their ‘spring ball’ raffle!
Experience Days have been bringing the best in UK experience gifts ever since launching in 2006. They are dedicated to bringing a wide selection of the very best experiences and activity days that the UK has to offer, from the most blissfully relaxing spa days to the most high-octane extreme experiences. They believe that the best gift you can give to a loved one is the gift of a wonderful new experience and a lasting memory to treasure – and they are dedicated to helping you find the perfect gifts for family and friends of all ages, abilities and inclinations. They certainly are succeeding, with the fantastic reviews and comments from customers – take a look at their website to see what they can offer! https://experiencedays.co.uk
Dentsoc was formed by a student body and provides a bridge between the Dental School and its entire cohort of students.
Not only do they host a huge number of events throughout the academic year, despite hectic timetables, they are most importantly there to provide students with a voice and raise their concerns and opinions.
Well Connected is extremely grateful for the support and effort we have received from Dentsoc during the past year and its brilliant that Experience Days are kindly supporting them; we cannot wait to see who the lucky winner will be!
National Smile Month kick-started by MBE award
As the UK dental community marks National Smile Month, a key member of the dental team at the University of Plymouth has been awarded her Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Wendy Smith, Strategic Lead for Community Engagement at the health charity Well Connected, collected her MBE at Buckingham Palace from HRH The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William) for her ‘services to oral health care and dental education in the South West’.
Wendy, who was a founding member of the Community Engagement team within the University’s Peninsula Dental School, said she felt the experience was ‘completely surreal’ as she attended the ceremony alongside her family.
Dedicating the award to ‘all of the students, staff and partners in Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE) and Peninsula Dental School’, she said that the day was ‘magical’.
National Smile Month is the UK’s largest and longest-running campaign to promote good oral health. Running from 14 May – 14 June, the campaign is led by the Oral Health Foundation.
Much of Wendy’s career has been defined by collaborating with groups, individuals and organisations who support those people that face inequality or disadvantage in accessing dental treatment and oral healthcare.
Most recently she supported the University’s second-year dental students within their Inter-professional Engagement projects, where they worked with a variety of community organisations to deliver oral health messages.
Wendy said: “It was a truly magical day collecting my MBE, I was very nervous but the experience was incredible. I felt very emotional at the end of it and I just want to do it all again!
“It’s easy to say that the award is a team effort, but I genuinely feel like this MBE belongs to all of us who work with and are part of Peninsula Dental School and PDSE. It’s thanks to the hard work of all of every single person – staff, students and partners – that we’re able to offer students a fantastic education, while really making a difference to people who need it the most.”
Professor Christopher Tredwin, Head of Peninsula Dental School, said: “As a School, we couldn’t be prouder of Wendy’s achievement. She has helped to define our Community Engagement Team, which sits at the heart of the Dental School and helps to give our students a strong awareness of social impact. Well Connected provides an integral part of our work, and I’m so pleased that Wendy had this great honour and experience – it is really well deserved.”
Author: Amy McSweeny
Notes to editors: Pictured is Wendy Smith MBE alongside her children
Smile, its Smile Month!
The aim of National Smile Month is to ultimately improve the UK’s oral health. Organised by oral health charity, the Oral Health Foundation, the campaign hopes to raise awareness of important health issues, and make a positive difference to the oral health of millions.
With the help and enthusiasm of those who are passionate about health and well being, National Smile Month 2018 will see thousands of events and activities up and down the UK educate and engage local communities about the importance of a healthy mouth.
The campaign encourages all dental and health professionals, schools, pharmacies, community groups, colleges and workplaces – in fact anyone with an interest in good oral healthcare, to join in and help to educate, motivate and communicate positive oral health messages across the community.
At Well Connected we are doing this by:
> Establishing brushing clubs in primary schools in Plymouth
> Delivering Open Wide and Step Inside in 29 schools in the city
> Train people to be ‘dental champions’ who can help share key oral health messages with other
> Helping people access dental services
During Smile Month we will be taking every opportunity to share key messages….watch this space!
Working in partnership with Millfields Inspired we have recently completed our 5th Widening Horizons programme. The focus of the project is to raise aspirations and encourage Year 5/6 primary school children as they transition to secondary education. For some children maintaining their academic potential can be problematic; this project helps them to discover more about possible career opportunities, gives a focus to their ambitions as well as offering positive contacts with adults in a variety of workplaces.
Well Connected deliver a fun and interactive dental themed activity within the Devonport Dental Education Facility. Children enjoy spending time in the clinical environment, learning more about their teeth and the importance of oral health. They also investigate the variety of jobs within the dental team which often provides opportunities to discuss the importance of effective team working alongside different skills and attributes.
The feedback we receive is very positive:
Josanne Stewart [Widening Horizons manager]
“the children always enjoy dental workshop which is run by Well Connected. It is always super organised and provides fun activities for the children to take part in. They discover more about themselves and possible career choices for the future.”
Dental Ambassadors at Lifeworks College Dartington
The Dental Ambassador programme provides training to people with a learning disability, which enables them to share key oral health messages with others: in educational and residential settings, workplaces, advocacy groups as well as with family and friends.
We have delivered this programme in various locations across the Peninsula and most recently to a group of 8 young people who attend the Lifeworks College in Dartington. The 6 week project covered different aspects of oral health with a special emphasis on the key oral health messages.
Participants built their knowledge each week and created an individual portfolio, which reflected them and their personal likes and dislikes. This person centered approach ensured the whole group was involved and motivated to learn more. Every session was fun, lively and interactive!
The topics covered included:
> Why teeth are important
> Better brushing
> Diet and making simple swaps
> Impact of sugar and oral health
We developed games and activities which helped to consolidate learning, such as oral health pairs, talking tiles, individual eat well plates and much more.
We are extremely proud of the project and believe the comments received from the staff demonstrate the effectiveness and impact the project has had:
> The sessions were really impressive; you could tell a great deal of thought had been given to the style and pace
> The tutors were fun, smiley and built great relationships with the whole group
> The resources were excellent, images and props were very useful
The Dental Ambassador programme delivers a sustainable peer led project for adults and young people with learning disability and to empower them to share information with others; for example, at home with parents and siblings, in the work place, in school or college as well as with other local disability organisations as well as developing further understanding of improving their own oral health.
There are estimated to be 1 million adults registered with a disability in the UK with only a small proportion (around 20%) known to disability services. While high quality treatment services are available in the UK, there is a lack of specific resource for community-based oral health improvement. Working in partnership and developing a person centered approach to delivering health based initiatives has far reaching impacts for communities, organisations and individuals.
For more details about the programme please contact us!
Plymouth Community Engagement lead recognised in this years Queen's Honours list
Wendy Smith, Strategic Lead for Community Engagement at newly formed Plymouth health charity Well Connected, has been awarded an MBE in this years Queen’s Honours List for her ‘services to oral health care and dental education in the South West’.
Wendy has worked in a variety of sectors during her career including education, local authority and social enterprise which have enabled her to further combine her skills and learning about people, communities and health. These experiences have facilitated opportunities for Wendy to work with groups, individuals and organisations who support people who experience inequality or disadvantage.
Most recently Wendy has been instrumental in the creation of the Well Connected Charity. After developing a unique community engagement model over the last ten years and working with colleagues in the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PU PSMD), her expertise in community based education and health initiatives and her dedication to community engagement led to the launch of the charity earlier this year which continues to offer such valuable support to local communities in partnership with the Faculty.
Wendy says: “I am delighted to be receiving this award and am accepting it in recognition of the work we have all done to raise the profile of oral health in the community and to support the education of health professionals for the 21st Century.
“I have the privilege of working with an amazing team of people at Well Connected, brilliant community groups, inspiring dental, dental hygiene therapy and medical students and have been hugely supported by colleagues at the Peninsula Dental School, Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise and the University.”
Professor Robert Sneyd, Dean of PU PSMD, said: “Social engagement is a cornerstone of our undergraduate programmes in medicine and dentistry. Wendy Smith and her colleagues bring together our community and our students with benefit to both parties. I’m very proud of their achievements which are in large part attributable to Wendy’s enthusiasm, energy and determination.”
Professor Christopher Tredwin, Head of the Peninsula Dental School, added: “Wendy has, for a number of years, been at the heart of the Community Engagement Team and this in turns sits at the heart of the Dental School. Wendy not only helps care to be delivered to those that need it the most, but also brings enrichment to the training and education that we can offer to our students – something that she continues to do via Well Connected. I am delighted and proud for Wendy that she has been recognised in this way – it is really well deserved.”
Well Connected is a new and exciting venture bringing together key partners to deliver more for local communities using an established and successful model of community engagement for better health. The team are experts in this field and have already established a range of innovative and effective projects which have attracted national and international interest. The new Charity enables the team to expand their reach and continue to build on this exciting opportunity.
Dr Robert Witton, Director of Social Engagement and Community-based Dentistry at PU PMSD, says: “I am absolutely delighted with this news recognising Wendy’s contribution to oral health and dental education in the south west. Wendy has worked passionately on developing community partnerships to enable learning opportunities for undergraduate medical and dental students in Devon and Cornwall. This approach is highly valued by all parties and Wendy has made a significant and long lasting impact on many people’s lives in the south west through this work.”
An MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) is awarded by Her Majesty the Queen after an individual is nominated for their outstanding achievement or service to the community. An independent Honours Committee reviews the nomination application and makes the final award decision.
Wendy adds: “Receiving the award all seems a bit unreal at the moment; on a personal level I am, of course, hugely proud of the recognition. My parents instilled in me the importance of valuing people, working hard, being positive and always going the extra mile with a smile! They would, I am sure, have been very proud.”
Well Connected & Hartley Dental - Our Partnership
The team at Hartley Dental take our community responsibilities very seriously and realise that it isn’t just about ‘looking in’ – we need to ‘look out’ where possible and see how we can best support the communities of Plymouth, particularly when it comes to being (and staying) healthy.
The obvious way to achieve this was to look to partner with a local charity – but who? Well this is where ‘Well Connected’ come in!
So How Did We Meet?
This was by pure chance in the early part of 2017, when the planets aligned and Wendy Smith from Well Connected and Edd Jones from Hartley were introduced over email by a mutual business contact. A meeting was quickly arranged, to see how Well Connected and Hartley could work together to bring a benefit to the Plymouth community – needless to say, this was very positive and has led to great things! Read on…
Who Are Well Connected & What Do They Actually Do?
Well, put simply, they support healthier communities, with their vision being, “To inspire communities to achieve healthier smiles and positive lifestyles.”
That sounds good to us!
In addition to this, their mission is, “To be the expert providers in community engagement services for health improvement in the South West region, enabling more disadvantaged groups to access health improvement and adopt positive lifestyles.”
That appeals to Hartley as a large part of what Well Connected do, is based around improving the Oral Health of the communities of Plymouth – which is a really important focus for everyone involved in Dentistry in Britain’s Ocean City.
What Have We Achieved So Far?
Hartley and Well Connected have already worked together on two notable occasions. Firstly, the Hartley Team (Janie, Edd & Laura) carried out a brushing club at a local primary School, where the Hartley team delivered some key oral health messages to the Year 5 Children. It was a fun and interactive session, which included using disclosing tablets to help demonstrate how plaque can build up on the Children’s teeth if they don’t brush properly – everyone had a great time!
Hartley then also hosted a charity BBQ night in aid of Well Connected in August 2017, which was really great fun and there were some fantastic raffle prizes were on offer – including a bottle of 10 year aged port and a trip on a catamaran off the Cornwall coast. The night was a roaring success with £255.00 being raised and donated directly to Well Connected! Wendy even won a boiler service – which equalled some light hearted ribbing on the night!
So What’s Next?!
Well, 2018 promises to be a fantastic year for Well Connected and Hartley will be doing everything possible to support them with their mission.
We have already partnered again to arrange a charity bike ride in May 2018, which will raise further funds for the cause. This will involve Edd, Charlie, the Well Connected team, former Peninsula Dental School Dentists and players from Plymouth Albion will be cycling from Okehampton to Plymouth via the granite way – it promises to be a really fun event!
In addition, Hartley will be hosting another charity fundraising BBQ in the summer (date TBC), which hopefully will be bigger and better than 2017, with plenty of much needed fundraising as a result.
Well Connected have also recently launched their, “Open wide and step inside,” project, which is a fantastic initiative focussing on delivering key oral health messages to children in Plymouth’s primary Schools – yet another superb and important project from the Well Connected team!
So there you have it… That is how Hartley and Well Connected work together for the good of the City and the health of its residents.
Why not check out the Hartley website here for lots more information: www.hartleydental.co.uk
Talking teeth with Active Plus
Active Plus is a community interest company based in Cornwall who use the skills, experience and expertise of injured military veterans to deliver unique programmes that build confidence, communication, motivation and self-belief; unlocking and nurturing the potential of participants regardless of their background and circumstance.
Well Connected has developed a partnership with an Active Plus Communities project which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and has been engaged to deliver interactive dental themed workshops for older people in a variety of settings including residential homes and
We encourage people to share their dental experiences and then use this to describe the changes and improvements in dentistry; we look at dental equipment new and old, discuss key oral health messages and encourage participants to share this knowledge with friends
and family members. Workshops are informal: a hands on approach encourages everyone to find out more about fluoride toothpaste, improving brushing techniques, cleaning dentures and much more. There is lots of laughter and fun with everyone learning more
about looking after their own oral health and encouraging others to do so.
So far we have met with approximately 130 people; these are some of their comments:
“This workshop has given me more confidence”
“I learned several new things including not to use mouth wash straight after brushing”
“The speaker was excellent; information was clear and easy to understand”
Tim Cocks, the Managing Director of Active Plus said:
“This is a great example of how Well Connected use their skills and experience to deliver a community based programme in the heart of communities in Cornwall. By working in partnerships with specialist organisations we can provide essential information and guidance to the people that need it most and who find it difficult to access it in any other way. We look forward to working with the Well Connected team on other projects.”
Malcolm Prideaux completed the Great South Run on behalf of Well Connected
Words from Malcolm:
“I am a 61 year old dentist from Plymouth and I have spent most of my practising life working to reduce oral health inequalities and improving the oral health of my patients and community. Now in 2017 there is an even greater need. An astonishing number of children need general anaesthetics to remove multiple decayed teeth. Older people in the community are being forgotten. There is little or no access to NHS dentistry in the South West and other parts of the country. Tooth decay and gum disease are preventable diseases and with good education and some funding, which by the way is not coming from the Government, this charity can help address these issues. Please visit their website wellconnecteduk.org to be inspired.
In recent years I have taken up running to keep myself healthy and well. Simply Health who own Denplan are paying for my entry.
It is not easy running 10 miles, so please make it worth my while and give generously to this amazing charity. ”
Malcolm raised a fantastic £275 on our behalf. Thank you so much Malcolm, we are all so proud of you!
Health Improvement Charity Launches Special Event
New Plymouth charity Well Connected is helping to organise a family health event at North Prospect’s Beacon Community Hub on Wednesday, October 25 (2pm – 7pm).
The health roadshow for local families will bring together a variety of faculties from Plymouth University under one roof, including dentistry, podiatry, optometry and dietetics, to provide health advice, support and information alongside practical help.
Supported by global dental charity Dentaid, the event offers a number of practical activities, including a free dental screening assessment, fluoride varnish application for children, dental advice, weight management and healthy eating tips.
No appointments are needed and visitors are invited to turn up between 2pm and 7pm. Free refreshments are available, with donations to Well Connected.