Mobile Dental Services is a newly launched company which grew out of Friends for Needs, who have provided companions and help in the homes of people in the Fenland and Peterborough area for over a decade.
“Our team at Friends for Needs identified a real need for better access to dental care, particularly for elderly people in care homes,” explained Sam Awolesi, who founded the company.
Working in partnership with The Prior’s Green Dental Hive, near Chelmsford, Mobile Dental Services provide dental care to care home residents within their own environment. “Not having to travel to appointments off-site can be beneficial to both the residents and care-staff. Some have mobility or issues around dementia which can be challenging, and we help to remove some of the barriers in a way which is more comfortable and relaxed,” commented Sam.
Having grown Friends for Needs, Sam has used his experience as a businessman to set up the new company. He explained that initial market research was carried out, with surveys being sent to care homes across the Cambridgeshire region, to better understand the appetite for a mobile dentist – the results confirming there was a real need locally. This was supported by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guideline NG48, published in 2016, highlighting the importance of good oral care, specifically for adults in care homes. In 2019, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reinforced this further, with a report highlighting the need to improve access to dental care for care home residents.
“We recognised that we could provide a solution to this issue, working with our partners to provide accessible dental care in the local area, where we already had connections to the elderly population,” commented Sam.
Sam approached the CPCA Growth Hub, having discovered the Start and Grow programme when researching funding for this new business venture. “We were successful in obtaining a Start and Grow grant which helped us to employ an administrator for Mobile Dental Services, which was very helpful.” The administrator has been busy learning how to use the preferred software, liaising with potential clients and organising the company’s recently-held open day launch event. Sam plans to employ more staff as the company grows.
The team were also helped to recruit an intern, who was provided with training in working in the dental healthcare sector. Sam points out that the recruitment of dentists is one of the biggest challenges they face due to a nationwide demand, but he remains focused on the development of this needed service.
“We listened to the needs of our customers in one business to create a new service which aims to provide a much-needed service to care home residents,” explained Sam. The Start and Grow grant was a key part of that process as it helped us to get the company set up and moving towards our goals,” stated Sam. “Investment is always a real concern for any new business, but the grant scheme has brought us real benefits.”
The Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority and its partners received £2,529,600 funding from the Community Renewal Fund (CRF) for this business support and grant programme (Start and Grow), which was delivered across Peterborough, Fenland and Huntingdonshire. It helped to equip new and existing enterprises with the business skills they need for sustainable growth and creating new jobs. The project was also supported and in partnership with Peterborough City Council and Fenland and Huntingdonshire District Councils.