An international dental charity is joining forces with a local community scheme which provides food to those unable to afford it.
The Real Junk Food Project Dewsbury was set up on Old Westgate in June in a bid to help hungry and vulnerable people in North Kirklees, who can pay what they feel for a meal.
Now the project is receiving assistance from Dentaid, after volunteers working at the charity cafe noticed that a number of clients were suffering from tooth pain and dental impairments but were unable to access NHS treatment for a variety of reasons.
As a result, homeless people, migrant and low wage workers and vulnerable people could now receive their first dental care in years.
Paul Burr, who helps lead the Real Junk Food Project in Dewsbury said: “Many of our customers either cannot get to any NHS dentisit or are unable to register with one, therefore this service is vitally important to them
“We see hungry people arriving at our cafes and sessions but it’s difficult to enjoy the food if they are suffering awful tootache - which also affects their well-being and morale.
“I’d also like to stress that this project is for everybody who needs it - and not just for refugees.”
A pilot project is to begin next month with local dentists holding surgeries for which people can again pay what they can afford or feel to be right.
Nick O’Donovan will run the first surgery at Dewsbury Dental Centre on Halfiax Road on Thursday, December 3 from 6 - 8pm.
Andy Evans, strategic director of Dentaid, said: “Over the last 20 years we have worked in 70 countries but now we have identified a need in the UK amongst people who cannot access emergency NHS dentistry and are suffering paint.
“Therefore to find a partner like The Real Junk Food Project in Dewsbury gives us a fantastic opportunity to help people in this country in addition to our work overseas.”
Both charities are hoping that more dentists and dental nurses will volunteers for the project as it expands.
The Real Junk Food Project was started in North Leeds by chef Adam Smith in 2014 and managed to recycle 20 tonnes of unwanted food in its first year. Such was the idea’s success it has since spread across the country and even to the United States where similarly-styled cafes are beginning to pop up.
Anyone wanting more information about the Real Junk Food Project Dewsbury can contact Paul Burr on 07752 410464.