Members agree to extend Charity’s remit at its 140th AGM

Dr. John Milne, Patron of the BDA Benevolent Fund, gave a warm welcome to attendees and presided over the 140th AGM, on Tuesday 4th July 2023, which took place in person for the first time since the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Chairman’s Report

Dr Ros Keeton began proceedings and gave the final report of her Chairmanship, outlining both the past activities and future direction of the Charity – the theme at the AGM and 140th birthday celebrations.

Applications up 60%

Applications for financial assistance were up by 60% on the previous year (2021) and demand for the Charity’s services remained high, especially from the dental student demographic. This was in part, due to a second research exercise amongst dental students ascertaining what their wellbeing and financial issues were. The results of the second survey highlighted difficulties resulting from the pandemic had been replaced by worries about the cost-of-living crisis, with some students even cutting back on food and going to food banks.

Dental students need support

Dr. Ros Keeton expressed concern about the sobering results of the student survey and called on the profession to address issues raised and support future generations of dentists.

Handing over the baton

Dr. Ros Keeton concluded her report by focusing on the strong position the BDA Benevolent Fund is in to support dentists in the future. She thanked the team, led by newly promoted Chief Executive, Laura Hannon, for leading a charity with good governance, good technology, and corporate citizenship, that supporters and donors can have the utmost confidence in.

Stability in times of uncertainty

Dr. Chris Hayward then went on to present the Treasurer’s report, taking attendees through the 2022 Annual Report and Accounts for a complete view of the Charity’s activities and finances.

The main point of note was income remained stable and increases in expenditure supporting the growth of activities were made possible thanks to very generous donations from Local Dental Committees (up 54% on 2021), as well as ongoing support through BDA branches and sections, and individual givers.


The Charity embraced technology and voted electronically via ballot to re-elect three current Trustees for a second term to the Board of Trustees:

  • Dr Peter Crooks
  • Dr Molly Deykin
  • Dr Alex Gormley

Amendment to charitable objects

Members were then called on to vote on the resolution to amend the objects of the Charity with the main change to include supporting:

“someone who was entitled to work (through qualification, registration or equivalent) as a dentist in their home country and has asylum seeker or refugee status in the UK”

Laura Hannon gave a background introduction for the rationale before voting and the motion was passed unanimously.

New Co-Chair nominations

Dr. Ros Keeton was thanked for her many years of service on the Board of Trustees, by Vice-Chairman, Dr. Austin Banner who gave a speech and presented her with gifts. 

He also informed the attendees that the Board had nominated two current Trustees to take up the roles of Co-Chairs-Dr. Molly Deykin and Dr. Shafaq Hussein. They will be formally ratified at the next board meeting on 20th September.

Attendees were invited to a lunch, followed by a panel discussion on “The Future of Dentistry”.

The date of the next AGM is Friday 28th June 2024.

If you’d like to support us you can make a donation here

LDCs pull out all the stops through pandemic

As for many charities, it has been a particularly challenging year for the BDA Benevolent Fund. Fundraising opportunities fell away during the pandemic and there was a surge in applications from dental students, dentists and their families, as the profession felt the cruel effects of the COVID19 pandemic.

As expenditure on grant giving soared by 15%, there was a 25% fall in investment income, giving a troubling economic picture. However, Local Dental Committees recognised that fundraising opportunities from branches and sections had been impacted by the pandemic and truly stepped up, increasing their donations by almost 70%.

The LDCs were praised for their significant support of the BDA Benevolent Fund at their latest AGM which took place online, on 2nd September 2021.

Austin Banner, Vice-chairman, opened the presentation of the annual report and accounts to the end of September 2020, by thanking the LDCS, seconded by Chris Hayward, Secretary. Austin went on to thank Ros Keeton and her team, Laura Hannon and Susan Dare, for their remarkable resilience through the pandemic, and the swift and seamless handling of a move to working from home.

He then went on to outline the extension of services that had taken place, including a focus on health and wellbeing and financial education webinars. He noted the surge in financial support applications as a result of the pandemic and the growing trend that applicants are much younger than previously. The average age is now 31 years.

Other developments were highlighted, including:

The usual AGM business was attended to, including the re-election of Bill Creedon, who is due to serve a further 3 years on the Board. Ross Keeton, Chairman, also thanked Julie Kirkby for 13 years of service and dedication as she stepped down and wished her a happy retirement.

We have a brand new look

You may have noticed that we look a little different. The BDA Benevolent Fund was set up in 1883 and you can browse a fascinating timeline of the changes that have happened over the past 139 years on the Our History page of this new website. You will see that the last time a new logo was developed was 18 years ago and there have been some fundamental governance changes since then.

Ros Keeton, Chairman of the BDA Benevolent Fund explains why we felt the need for a change:

“Our new look clearly defines who the charity is for. We had feedback from our Advisory Council about our old website and logo and specifically about the word ‘benevolence’. We wanted to bring the appearance of the Charity into the 21st century and appeal to the whole dental community.”

The website has been redeveloped to help dental students, dentists and their families, access financial and wellbeing support quickly and easily.

“We started partnering with Health Assured in January 2020 to offer a free wellbeing provision.” said Laura Hannon, General Manager. “The link between money and mental health is well documented and there can be a reluctance from the dental profession to talk about wellbeing and be open about any challenges they face. The health and wellbeing portal, my healthy advantage app, and helpline and counselling services, give our applicants extra support and more preventative tools to look after themselves earlier on building their skills and resilience for the future.

The core of our work remains, which is to offer dental students, dentists and their families financial assistance online if they are experiencing difficulties with managing their essential expenditures such as food, bills, and housing costs.

“We would like to raise awareness of everything on offer to the entire dental profession.” said Ros Keeton, “and we hope the clarity and modernity of the logo catches attention and helps people connect with us and share our work, so more people can be supported.”

Help us to reach the wider dental community by connecting on our social channels and sharing our messaging: Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter, Instagram.

Feel free to contact us and let us know about your website experience and what you think of our new look.