Plymouth University has won a national newspaper award for its social enterprise bringing dental treatment and education into the community.
The Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE) was named as the winner of the Social and Community Impact category at the 2015 Guardian University Awards, beating fellow finalists the University of Manchester and the University of Nottingham to claim its second national honour, after winning a Green Gown Award for Enterprise in November of last year.
‘This is a phenomenal endorsement of our work and my congratulations go not just to the team for this wonderful achievement, but also to the dental profession students at Plymouth University and the many community organisations that work with us – without whom we would not be able to deliver our successful projects,’ said Dr Robert Witton, director of the PDSE and a qualified dentist.
‘Our community projects have two objectives: to improve oral health awareness and access to dental care for groups in the community with most need; and to create projects and environments that help to develop well-rounded, patient-focused dental professionals of the future.
‘This award is yet another indication that we are on the right track.’
Wendy Smith, community engagement lead for the PDSE, received the award from celebrity host Ronni Ancona.
PDSE runs four dental education facilities across the south west where dental profession students from Plymouth University treat NHS patients as part of their training, under the supervision of qualified dental care professionals.
It also carries out a wide range of social and community engagement projects, some involving students, which aim to improve oral health and awareness and improve access to dental care – especially for those in the community who need it most.
Around 16,000 NHS patients receive care at the centres.
It is the second Guardian University Award that Plymouth has won in the three years they have been running, following on from its 2013 award for its ebooks project, in which first-year students receive free electronic versions of their course textbooks to aid their learning.