TODAY, a mystery hand will be surprising passers-by at Kings Cross Station, with a new interactive billboard installation giving out free smiles. Aesop gift bags, Hotel Chocolat lollies, backpacks from Supreme, Odeon Cinema tickets, Soul Cycle classes, Toca Social vouchers, Winter Wonderland tickets and goody bags from Smile Train corporate partner, Haleon are among the many gifts up for grabs – all intended to get people grinning.
Every three minutes, a baby is born around the world with a cleft lip or palate; a serious medical condition that can jeopardise their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and smile.
To mark their Week of Smiles campaign, which launched on World Smile Day® (7th October), Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity, will be installing the billboard outside busy Kings Cross Station, to help highlight this stark figure to the public, whilst celebrating a period devoted to smiles and acts of kindness.
The interactive billboard, open today between 11am and 3pm, will feature a giant digital clock along with the words ‘When the clock hits three, take a smile for free.’ Every three minutes, when the clock has reached its ‘03:00’ target, hands, will appear from a mysterious hole to give out gifts to three lucky members of the public.
Gifts to spark smiles for all ages, which have been graciously donated by a mixture of local businesses and major brands, will include; Aesop gift bags containing skincare products, Haleon goody bags, backpacks and other goodies from iconic streetwear brand Supreme, ride classes from Soul Cycle, cinema tickets from Odeon, tasty gift cards from Pasta Evangelists, interactive football and dining experiences from Toca Social, Winter Wonderland tickets with entry to the Ice Kingdom and more!
The launch of the installation will coincide with the release of Smile Train’s new report: A Generation Lost: The Devastating Effect of Malnutrition on Children with Clefts.
The report is a first-of-its-kind study that analyses information and outcomes over a 20-year period to understand the global landscape of nutrition as relates to cleft care. It has been found that in every country and context, children with clefts are more likely to be malnourished than their peers without clefts.
Ian Vallance, Smile Train UK Director, said:
“Every three minutes another baby, somewhere around the world, is born with a cleft. Few people realise that many of these children will struggle to breathe, speak and eat– and sadly our new report, ‘A Generation Lost’, has revealed that a child with a cleft is twice as likely to be malnourished as a child without one.
“Through our interactive billboard activation, we hope to create lots of smiles, whilst educating more people about the impact that cleft can have on children – particularly in countries where treatment isn’t readily available.”
“A huge thank you to all the businesses who have kindly donated gifts for the event at Kings Cross. Come and find us outside the station and leave with a smile, whilst finding out more about Smile Train and our work. Together we can change the world one smile at a time!”
A cleft is the most common facial difference 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 (NHS).
However, hundreds of thousands of children living in low-and middle-income countries 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.
Learn how you can help to give children in need the opportunity to live, thrive, and, of course, smile at: smiletrain.org.uk/wsd22 #EveryThreeMinutes