The BDA Benevolent Fund bought a smile to people’s faces at this year’s BDA Conference. They came armed with a photo-booth full of fun props to spread the word about how their support changes lives. Dentists from every corner of the UK need to know that if disaster strikes, they will not be alone. By giving one-off and regular grants to help those in need, the BDA Benevolent Fund is often the only lifeline when there is nothing else to hold on to. It’s not only about financial aid either, but support, comfort and friendship.
(Pictured above having fun with the Benevolent Fund is GDPUK's very own Michael Watson)
The fact is none of us is immune to sudden misfortune or a dramatic change in circumstances; a curveball can get thrown at any time. Think about it: how would you and your family cope if you had to stop work for any reason? Who would you turn to for help? The Fund is showing that, as a profession, we look after our own and will be there for colleagues who are going through dark times.
Conference delegates who stopped by the stand had the opportunity to meet with some of the Trustees, and find out about the diverse range of cases the charity has helped. Chronic illness and injury can mean lengthy time off work, as can family problems like divorce or bereavement and issues around personal debt. Sudden redundancy can set off a dramatic chain of events if the dentist is the breadwinner, with a family to support.
Modern dentists face a challenging and unique mix of pressures that can affect their mental wellbeing, such as ever-changing targets and regulations, keeping up-to-date with technology and techniques and making a decent living in a competitive industry. In its 2015 Annual Report, the Fund notes that a significant number of applicants had experienced stress-related illnesses. Accepting help is needed is the first (and probably the hardest) step, but once a dentist has made the call, their case has been assessed and a decision made, they can be sure of a timely intervention.
The testimonials from dentists who have been helped by the Fund really do speak for themselves. Recent recipients have said: “The way the profession has responded has been overwhelming,” “No-one can appreciate how important your work is until they need your help” and “There is a big light at the end of the tunnel and now I am confident I will come out at the other side”. Comments like these are reasons why raising awareness at industry events is so vital. An independent charity, the BDA Benevolent Fund is supported by a committee of volunteer dentists and, with no assistance from the government is reliant on the generosity of donations. Behind the wigs, feather boas and cheesy grins, the BDA Conference was all about the essential promotion of Fund’s vital work.
The BDA Benevolent Fund exists to shine a light in times of trouble and show that brighter days can be just around the corner. Support the Fund and you will not only be helping dentists who have found themselves in desperate need, but you will be laying the foundations of support for future generations too. Find out more, then spread the word. Regular donations mean the Fund can reach out to even more people and the easiest way to donate is online, via the secure Just Giving page. One day, it might be you who has to make that call.
The BDA Benevolent Fund relies on your help to continue its work,
or to give a donation today go to www.bdabenevolentfund.org.uk.
And if you are in need of help yourself, please contact us now.
All enquiries are considered in confidence.
Registered charity no. 208146