This year’s #SmilesAtSea and SeaFit tour of Cornwall and Devon will be a little different due to Covid-19 regulations. The focus will be on increasing fishermen and their family’s knowledge and awareness of good oral health, along with reducing their sugar intake and changing their eating and toothbrushing habits to improve their dental health.
SeaFit Manager Carol Elliott said: “We know how hard it can be to get to the dentist when you’re out at sea and it’s even more difficult at the moment, so we’re bringing free dental advice and information to the harbourside instead. We’ve always been delighted with the response to this dental tour and many of the fishermen we’ve seen in the past hadn’t seen a dentist for years, so knowing how to prevent the need for treatment is even more important now. We will be following local and national Covid-19 guidelines to keep people safe and there’s no need to book – just turn up!”
Starting with Newquay on the 16th September, the event will visit five other fishing ports: Newlyn, Mevagissey, Padstow, Plymouth and Brixham throughout September and October.
Smile Together’s Joy Callender, who has led on Smiles at Sea for the last four years, says: “We really wanted to visit the harboursides this year despite the pandemic, to help fishermen and their families with their oral health care at home. Whilst we can’t provide free dental treatment this year from a mobile dental unit, our dental team will be on hand to provide information on how to improve dental health and signpost any dental emergency to the local Urgent Dental Care Hubs that we’ve been running on behalf of NHS England since Easter Saturday. And there will be free oral health goodie bags for every eligible person who comes to see us!”
The programme organisers are hoping that health partners who can provide information on Mental Wellbeing, Healthy Lifestyles, Safety Training and other health support. There will also be vouchers for free eye tests with Vision Express.
Carol goes on to say: “The fishermen really welcome these local health events and it encourages them to seek help. The Fishermen’s Mission local port staff often report that they are much busier after events like this with people asking for advice and support, so the more we can do, the better”.
The SeaFit Programme is a joint initiative between two highly respected national maritime charities, the Fishermen’s Mission and the Seafarers Hospital Society, with funding from Seafarers UK. SeaFit has partnered with Smile Together to provide this free dental advisory service to local fishermen and their families across Cornwall and Devon.
To find out more about the SeaFit Programme call SeaFit Manager, Carol Elliott on 07486 319 621, or email PDMSeafit@fishermensmission.org.uk