Because while many business owners give their time or money to help worthy causes, here at Southport Road Dental we give away goats.
That’s not quite as odd as it sounds when you learn that the goats in question are given to families in Kenya in order to provide them with a source of income through the sale of milk, and goats that are subsequently bred.
And all of that happens through our membership of the business giving programme Buy One Give One (B1G1) and the way that it works is simple. Every time a customer buys something, the business matches the purchase by donating to one of hundreds of good causes all over the world.
So, when one of our patients decides to invest in their smile, David and Rashmi set about giving someone else in the world something to smile about.
As well as the goats, they’ve donated bricks to a house building project in India, clean water for people living in some of the poorest parts of Malawi, educational support for children living in Cambodia; and even done their bit to help preserve the endangered rain forests of South America, in an amazing list of almost 11,000 good deeds!
But it’s the goats that have been the biggest talking point; so far around 20 Kenyan families have benefitted, and that’s down to our patients who have a big say in which worthy causes to support.
David says: “They have really taken to the idea that as a result of improving their own smile they are giving someone in another part of the world something to smile about, whether it’s a goat, a day’s supply of clean water, or glasses for children with sight problems. As charity schemes go this one is a bit different, and it has a massive impact for those on the receiving end of the donations, and that is what counts.”
Lancashire’s famous goodwill is something that he has discovered on a personal level since moving to the county from Yorkshire a few years ago.
He says: “When we first started looking for a practice of our own we narrowed it down to this particular area of Lancashire because Rashmi had loved growing up here and wanted to be closer to her family. And in a fairly short space of time it’s grown on me as well. The people are very friendly; the countryside is perfect for running and cycling, which I do a lot of in my spare time, and I really enjoy the local pubs and ale.”
And when they took on Southport Road Dental in 2010 establishing a practice with a social conscience was a top priority.
He says: “Just after we bought the practice I went to a presentation by Paul Dunn, the chairman of B1G1, on business giving and I remember being pretty shocked at the statistics; only around 5% of the money that is donated to the voluntary sector, including charities, comes from businesses. I felt that this particular scheme would give smaller businesses like ours an opportunity to contribute in an easy and meaningful way.
“Our focus is very much on helping people, whether they are people with fears and anxieties that have kept them away from the dentist, or people on the other side of the world in need of the basic things in life that we all take for granted.”
B1G1 projects range from the basic provision of food, clean water and hygiene facilities to people living in some of the poorest parts of the world, to microfinance and education projects that empower people to start their own businesses and escape from the poverty trap.
Rashmi adds: “It has created a feel good factor at the practice, not just for the team, but for the patients who get to choose projects that they are personally interested in and keen for us to support.”
Most importantly, with all the scheme’s administration costs absorbed by membership fees, 100% of the donations go where they are intended.
Southport Road Dental’s B1G1 activity has attracted the interest of the national press and, the current climate of austerity aside, brought out the best in people.
David says: “From my own experience of Lancashire, I’ve found it to be an extremely warm and caring county, with people always ready and willing to help, both in their local communities and much further afield.”