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a blog by Chris Barrow

You only get what you give

I recently spent two days working on the BKH Group exhibition stand at Dentistry Live! This was a great event for our team in many ways: it was another chance to reconnect with colleagues, a chance to refine strategies, a chance to push forward, a chance to connect with clients, partners and providers, a chance to chill, relax and socialise as a team and above all a chance to boost momentum and determination. I had one additional, personal item on my agenda. I wanted to attend the Bridge2Aid seminar on Saturday 26th May. I’ve been connected to Bridge2Aid by default since late 2008 because of the working relationship I’ve had with Chris Barrow. For quite a while now I’ve been thinking “how on earth can I help B2A because I’m not a dentist and I don’t have any clinical skills?” I couldn’t see outside the ‘box’, partly because I’m a busy girl and haven’t made the time to find the answer myself. So the answer had to lie in the seminar entitled “You only get what you give”. An almost full seminar room on the fourth floor of the QEII Conference Centre in Westminster listened for 90 minutes to Ian Wilson – founder of B2A – about the history of his charity and the types of cases that traditionally come forward for dental treatment in Tanzania. We listened to Shaenna Loughnane talk about how working proactively with Bridge2Aid truly contributes to UK dental practices, dental teams and practice patients on so many levels from team building activities, individual challenges, all the way through to corporate social responsibility. We listened to Chris Barrow talk about his personal involvement and fundraising activities – he has completed several marathons and climbed Kili for Bridge 2 Aid. I personally think the biggest buzz Chris generated was back in April 2011 when he challenged his blog readers to the Bridge2Aid Unity Partnership Challenge. That day during the first week of April 2011 Chris engaged nine new practices as Unity Partners for Bridge2Aid at the same time as sacrificing his time, income and energy for the charity. I think that just over £22,500 was raised for B2A in one day! Finally, we listened to Mark Topley, CEO of Bridge2Aid, who talked about his role working in partnership with the Tanzanian Government, about the lasting legacy of the Dental Volunteer Programme, about the expansion plans that B2A have for the future, for working in additional African countries and for training many more Clinical Officers. Then it dawned on me – having been given the chance to listen and understand so much more about the fantastic work that the B2A team does in Mwanza. I knew exactly how I could contribute. “You only get what you give” is a win win. I’m going to climb Kili for B2A in 2014. This commitment – and I did shake hands with both Shaenna and Mark – gives me time to raise sponsorship, to plan for the trip, to improve personal fitness levels and to enjoy an amazing opportunity of a lifetime. So, two years after my 50th birthday, a fitter, lighter Phillippa will give time and money to B2A. And many people will benefit on many levels – not just me!

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