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‘At-need’ Kiwis to benefit from Wrigley community dental grants

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand’s most vulnerable citizens are amongst the beneficiaries of twelve projects receiving US$35,000 in combined funding today through the 2017 Wrigley Company Foundation and New Zealand Dental Association Community Service Grants.

Vulnerable children, the homeless, the elderly, abuse victims, refugees, high-risk ethnic groups and low-income families in some of the most deprived regions of New Zealand all feature as target communities in the grant programme, which returns for a sixth year with support from the New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA).

NZDA CEO David Crum says, "Each year these grants give important financial backing to various groups of dedicated dentists across the country who provide voluntary time and services to assist some of New Zealand’s most at risk communities."

Crum says one of the three treatment grants awarded will enable a group of dentists who volunteer for the Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) to continue providing free dental care for marginalised people in Wellington experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Every year, the DCM supports more than 850 people per year, approximately half of whom are Maori.

Others awarded grants include the Revive a Smile project that will be able to take its mobile clinic to the Far North, Ngarawahia and Hamilton in the Waikato and West Auckland to provide the unemployed and low-income adults of Maori descent with free dental care.

A not-for-profit voluntary project, known as We-Care set up by the New Zealand Dental Students’ Association (NZDSA), will be using the funds to promote geriatric oral health in Dunedin. The project aims to target New Zealand’s ageing population and the increasingly concerning issue of geriatric oral health.

In 2012, the partnership between the Wrigley Company Foundation and the NZDA was formed to improve the reach and quality of dental treatment and education to at-risk communities. The programme provides funding to volunteer dentists and teams of allied dental professionals to cover the purchase of supplies, treatments and other expenses including educational material, to develop new and expand existing oral health community service projects.

"This year, we received 26 applications of merit from across the country and we are thrilled that funding from the grants will have a positive impact on oral health education and treatment for many at-need Kiwis and Cook Islanders," says Wrigley Pacific Corporate Affairs Director, Catherine Pemberton.

"The grants are vitally important to help dental professionals carry out much needed community service work for vulnerable people from all sorts of communities."

The grants awarded in 2017 include five oral care education grants worth US$1,000 each, five treatment grants worth US$3,000 each, a US$10,000 ‘Principles in Action’ grant, as well as the US$5,000 ‘Pacific Region Dental Aid’ grant.

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