Singer Heather Small, whose hits with M People included Moving On Up, One Night in Heaven and Search for the Hero, has been announced as the newest Ambassador for Smile Train UK, the world’s largest cleft charity.
A cleft is the most common facial congenital condition globally, affecting around 1 in 700 babies. In the UK, cleft surgery is carried out within the first 12 months of a baby’s life by the National Health Service. However, hundreds of thousands of children living in low-resource communities worldwide do not have access to the lifesaving cleft treatment they desperately need.
Smile Train’s sustainable model empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. Since 1999, Smile Train has supported safe and quality cleft care for 1.5+ million children and will continue to do so until every person in need with a cleft has access to the care they deserve.
In her role as Ambassador, Heather will use her platform to raise awareness about clefts in the UK while championing Smile Train’s impactful programmes that take place in more than 70 countries around the world.
Heather will be commencing her ambassadorship with a special performance at Smile Train UK’s annual Big Smile Carol Concert, which will take place at The Grosvenor Chapel in Mayfair, London at 7pm on Tuesday, 5th December 2023.
Following this, Heather is gearing up for an exciting visit to one of Smile Train’s programmes in 2024 and will see the positive impact of donations first-hand. During her visit, she’ll meet with children from one of Smile Train’s choirs. Originating as part of Smile Train’s speech therapy aftercare initiative, these choirs provide a place where cleft-affected children thrive and are given the confidence to use their voice and speak up.
Heather Small commented: “I am incredibly honoured to join Smile Train UK as an ambassador. I have been a supporter of the charity for a number of years and the work they are doing for cleft-affected people of all ages, is truly incredible. Every child deserves the chance to smile, and I’ve been blown away by the scale of their programmes that goes far beyond sponsoring free cleft surgery.
Singing has played a huge role in my life, and to know that Smile Train has a speech therapy programme centred around singing and building confidence is life-changing for cleft-affected children who need their voices to be heard. It is a privilege to play my part in helping the charity to continue this inspiring work.”
Ian Vallance, Director of Smile Train UK, said: “We are delighted to welcome Heather into our Smile Train family. As someone who is passionate about charity work, we know she will bring a powerful presence to make a difference.
Every three minutes a baby is born with a cleft. Left untreated, these babies will struggle to breathe, speak, eat, and ultimately thrive. Smile Train is working to create a world where every child around the world has the access to the cleft treatment that we are fortunate to receive for free here in the UK.
Heather’s support will help us create awareness, raise funds, and ultimately transform the lives of countless children with clefts.”
To attend the Big Smile Carol Concert, RSVP at smiletrain.org.uk/carols
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