Game-changing grant for St Pat’s

Posted on 10th November 2020

Group of 8 smiling people

The Australian Dental Health Foundation (ADHF) has been awarded the 2020 Impact100 Fremantle grant, with a community investment of $100,000 going towards St Pat’s Community Support Centre’s Oral Health Clinic.

This game-changing grant will enhance the facilities and staffing at St Pat’s Oral Health Clinic, which provides free dental care to people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage in the south-west metropolitan region.

It was the second year running that the ADHF had been a finalist in Impact100 Fremantle, an annual grant program run by the Fremantle Foundation in which 100 donors each contribute $1,000 towards a local charity or community group.

Dr Russell Gordon, ADHF WA Committee Chair, presented the final pitch to donors at the Fremantle Foundation on Thursday 5 November.

“The Impact 100 event on Thursday was the culmination of a four-step process over eight months: proposal, submission, site visit and final pitch – to be voted on the night by the 100 donors,” Dr Gordon explains.

“It was a challenge for us being clinicians rather than fundraisers, but the ADHF committee are a talented team and worked together effectively with St Pat’s to get a result we only dreamed of.

“The funds will allow us to treat so many more people, relieve more suffering and give back smiles.”

Since its launch in 2016, St Pat’s Oral Health Clinic has provided extractions, restorations and scale and cleans to hundreds of patients, completely free of charge, at St Pat’s Day Centre in Fremantle.

St Pat’s Community Support Centre CEO Michael Piu commented: “While we have excellent government-sector medical care in Australia, the reality is that many people experiencing homelessness can’t afford the co-payments required for more complex dental procedures and often leave dental problems untreated, running the risk of developing life-threatening diseases.

“This funding will enable us to provide life-changing dental care to a far greater number of people – giving them back their smiles and, ultimately, their confidence and self-esteem, which is such a vital part of recovery.”

The ADHF was founded by Dr Dennis Gregory, former head of the Oral Surgery Department at Fremantle Hospital, who noticed the over-representation of people experiencing homelessness, arriving in his department with life-threatening complications.

The ADHF has provided $767,814 in pro-bono services to 633 patients at St Pat’s Oral Health Clinic over the last four years. But, according to Dr Russell Gordon, the demand for complex procedures outstrips the supply of pro bono lab work on offer.

The Australian Dental Association of WA proudly supports the ADHF and St Pat’s. ADAWA President, Dr Sean Archibald, is also a regular volunteer.

“ADAWA congratulates ADHF WA and St Patrick’s Fremantle Community Support Centre on their success at Thursday evening’s voting for the Fremantle Foundation’s Impact 100 grant,” Dr Archibald commented.

“The grant will allow this amazing service to thrive in the coming years as it continues to provide this vital service.”

Among the upgrades to the Oral Health Clinic, the grant will enable St Pat’s to hire a qualified Dental Nurse, who can coordinate treatment plans to make the process smoother and faster.

Andrea Paterson, WA State Coordinator of the ADHF, commented: “To be acknowledged for the exceptional service that St Patrick’s Oral Health Clinic provides to the local community makes me very proud of the WA ADHF team and our partnership with St Patrick’s Community Support Centre.

“Many thanks to Impact 100 Fremantle Foundation’s donors for voting the WA ADHF team as winners of the $100,000 grant last Thursday night at the Awards and Presentation Night.”