We are delighted to have launched our repurposed London bus together with fellow social enterprise Change Please, supporting the dental and oral health needs of homeless people in London through 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 ahead of World Homeless Day.

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 of oral cancers and these often go undetected in rough sleepers. 

Driving for Change Change Please CDS

“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.  

Sadiq Khan Driving for Change social enterprise uk member news

About CDS

Community Dental Services (CDS-CIC) is a 100% employee-owned social enterprise providing community dental services to the NHS and oral health improvement programmes throughout Bedfordshire, Luton, Oxfordshire, Leicestershire, Essex, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Norfolk and Waveney. Our social mission is to Improve Oral Health in Ever More Communities.

2021 sees CDS mark 10 years as an employee-owned social enterprise. The company was officially incorporated on 4th March and began trading on 1st April 2011. CDS transitioned from the NHS 10 years ago under ‘Right to Provide’, with a clear conviction that being an independent organisation would afford more control over how services were delivered and, ultimately, on the quality care patients received.