Dentists are going mobile to reach children in West Auckland whose families can't afford to get to hospital appointments.
A $116,000 grant from the proceeds of liquor sales by the West Auckland Trusts will help fund a $250,000 mobile dental clinic that will visit schools, early childhood centres and community events across the Waitemata District Health Board area.
The board already operates a mobile clinic that checks children's teeth, but Althea Lovell from the board's Well Foundation charity said the new German-built clinic would be big enough to do fillings and other operations as well.
"So if they do find things wrong with kids' teeth they can fix them right there rather than giving them an appointment at the hospital, because that is hard for the families," Lovell said.
"They can't afford the parking, and a lot of them have no transport, so they just wouldn't show up. This hopefully will fix the issue."
The government funds dental care for children up to age 18, but Lovell said the state funding did not extend to buying the mobile clinic.
The charity also bought a mobile ear clinic, launched last October, and it has ordered another mobile clinic to check children for rheumatic fever. That clinic is due to arrive from Germany in September or October.
The charity still needs to raise a further $134,000 for the dentistry clinic and hopes it will be ready to start fixing children's teeth early next year.
The $116,000 kick-start for the fundraising campaign comes from a $1 million fund which has been distributed to 30 West Auckland projects by The Trusts, which runs liquor outlets for the Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts.
Trusts chief executive Simon Wickham said the money was separate from the proceeds of pokies in the trusts' outlets, which go to the Trusts Community Foundation.
"This is entirely funded by the profits that come from our liquor stores and hospitality venues," he said.
The Trusts spent $200,000 on what Wickham described as a possible world's-first marketing campaign asking West Aucklanders to vote on the projects they wanted the money to go to.
The company received applications from 136 projects. A committee led by former Waitakere Mayor Sir Bob Harvey, former Silver Fern Linda Vagana and comedian Dai Henwood chose 30 of these for the public vote.
People were allowed to vote for one project every day of the 29-day voting period. Wickham said about 70,000 people cast a total of 200,000 votes, with each vote worth $5.
Seventeen projects won enough votes to raise the full amounts they were seeking, with the biggest sums of about $50,000 each going to the Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust, the Zeal youth centre and for equipment for students with physical disabilities at Waitakere College.
The other 13 projects received only part of the funds sought. Apart from the mobile dental clinic, the next-biggest sums went to the Matuku Reserve Trust to conserve a wetland at Bethells Beach ($85,125), the Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club ($77,130) and St John's Ambulances ($77,010).
The full list of grants is:
The Well Foundation mobile dental clinic: $116,000
Matuku Reserve Trust, Bethells Beach: $85,125
Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club: $77,130
Order of St John Northern Regional Board: $77,010
Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust: $50,575
Waitakere College: $50,000
Zeal Education Trust: $50,000
Family Action: $45,000
Auckland Swimming Association: $44,995
West Auckland Hospice: $40,000
Massey YMCA Raise Up: $38,375
Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation: $34,595
Te Atatu Rugby League: $33,790
Waitakere Badminton Association: $30,000
Kelston Girls College: $25,580
Piha Surf Lifesaving Club: $23,100
Big Buddy Mentoring Trust: $20,905
Netball Waitakere: $18,505
Massey Matters: $16,785
Leataata O Tupulaga Preschool: $16,705
Corban Estate Arts Centre: $15,475
French Bay Yacht Club: $14,905
Community Waitakere Charitable Trust for He Tohu Aroha: $13,710
Bay Olympic Soccer Club: $13,455
Save Cornwallis Old Wharf: $11,855
Bay Roskill Sports Club: $11,660
Titirangi Badminton Club: $11,010
KidsCan Charitable Trust: $9745
The Parenting Place: $2500
Massey Athletics Club: $1500