Residents, staff, volunteers and supporters of homelessness charity Emmaus Bristol are set to undertake a 1,600-mile challenge throughout May. The fundraiser aims to create a £5,000 dental fund.

Emmaus Bristol provides accommodation, tailored support, work opportunities and training to people who have experienced homelessness, poverty and social exclusion. The charity has no time limit and can support up to 26 people at a time.

To reach the 1,600-mile target – the equivalent of 51.5 miles a day – the group will walk, run and cycle around Bristol to ensure that formerly homeless individuals receive the essential dental care they need.

Like many in Bristol, the charity has struggled to enrol its formerly homeless residents with NHS dentists.

Francesca Blishen, support manager at Emmaus Bristol, said, “Being street homeless means no address and no dentist. Currently, most of the people we support have no access to NHS dental treatment as it is unavailable, and they urgently need it.

“Instead, our residents are forced to use antibiotics to stop rotting teeth from spreading infections in their mouths. The best they can hope for is to have otherwise healthy teeth pulled due to a lack of routine dental care available to them, meaning some of the people living with us have no teeth and no dentures.

“Many of the people we support are in pain and can do nothing about it other than go to the doctor or pharmacy for painkillers or antibiotics. We aim to drastically improve this through our dental fund and would be extremely grateful for any donations.”

Through the dental fund, Emmaus Bristol will pay for preventative treatments, such as oral cancer checks, hygiene appointments, x-rays, fillings and extractions with a dental charity that provides low-cost options. For Emmaus Bristol residents needing emergency treatment, the fund will be available instantly.

Emmaus Bristol resident Kevin will benefit from the fund. He said, "I've been laughed at for having no teeth, and that's really hard for me. I've lost count over the past few years how many NHS dentists I've tried to sign up with. I just can't get in; they keep saying they can't take anyone new on.”

The charity’s 1,600-mile challenge is part of a national Big Marathon Month campaign in May run by Emmaus UK. Residents, staff, volunteers, and supporters of the 30 Emmaus charities in the UK can raise funds for projects that benefit their local Emmaus.

To donate visit