The Big Issue across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset has received an early Christmas present of smart new tabards for its vendors, thanks to support from the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE).
PDSE and the Big Issue have a long standing relationship. The main mission of PDSE is to increase oral health awareness and address oral care inequalities for members of the community who are disadvantaged or at risk.
The organisation arranges interaction with Big Issue vendors via its Community Engagement Team, advising them how to look after their oral health and also providing access to NHS dental care at Dental Education Facilities. These are fully-equipped dental clinics where dental students, as well as student dental nurses and hygienists/therapists, from Plymouth University treat NHS patients under the supervision of qualified dental healthcare professionals, as part of their training.
The Community Engagement Team also works with dental students as they run projects with a variety of groups within the community, including the Big Issue. One such project saw students create a traffic light scheme for oral health, based on a poster carrying contact information for support for various levels of oral pain or illness.
PDSE has provided 100 tabards for Big Issue vendors to wear across the South West. Each tabard bears the slogan: “Oral health is a Big Issue, look after yours.”
Professor Robert Witton, director of PDSE, commented: “We have a great relationship with the Big Issue and we are delighted to be able to support the organisation in this way. Good oral health is not just good for general health: it is also a huge boost to confidence and we hope that the support and care we provide to Big Issue vendors helps them.”
David Morgan, Team Leader at the Big Issue, added: “We really appreciate the support we have received from PDSE, not just for the tabards but also for the ongoing advice and care they provide to our sales people. Big Issue vendors have a job: they sell the Big Issue. They buy the magazine upfront for £1.25 and sell it for £2.50. Selling the Big Issue is an alternative to begging on the streets, and good oral health is a vital element of giving our vendors the confidence and self-esteem to do their job.”