As I write this blog we are now well into the second half of the year, and unbelievably starting to think ahead to our Christmas maintenance plan and other activities that we must carry out over the winter months. We have already treated almost 2400 patients for the year and although this figure is slightly up on this stage last year, it appears to be about the right level for the numbers. If we are ever to increase the numbers that we can treat, and I do know that the demand is there, and of course reduce waiting times, then we need to look slightly further ahead and think about capacity and any longer term plans that we may have for the PTC. Nothing is planned yet, but if we do have any ambitions to expand and to develop our services and treatment over the next 5 to 10 years, then clearly these are issues that we need to start thinking about now.
The pace of activity has continued as normal at the PTC over the last month with a combination of internal and external activities. Many of you will have been aware that the British Transport Police arranged a football match against Emmerdale (as in the TV Series) and raised a very welcome £900 for the PTC, and we were delighted to welcome them to St Andrews where they formally presented us with a cheque.
We were also very pleased to host Mark Williams the CEO of the Police Firearms Officers Association (PFOA) for a visit to the PTC on the 14th July. Firearms as you will all be aware of recent stories in the media is one of those specialties that imposes huge physical and mental demands and stresses on the officers who work in this environment, and it was a great opportunity to show Mark around and to talk about some of the work that we do, and the ways in which we can support his members. We intend to build on this relationship and I hope to attend the PFOA Conference later this year to follow up on our discussions, and discuss how both charities can help and support each other.
We also hosted a visit by Faye McGuiness from MIND the mental health charity, and this is now one of a series of ongoing visits and partnerships that we have developed with MIND in order to progress our support for officers suffering from non-physical injuries.
On Sunday 26 July I attended the COPS Memorial Service at the National Memorial Arboretum. This is the second time that I have done so and it is very much an important fixture in my diary, and a good opportunity to get together with other members of the police family, lay a wreath on behalf of the PTC, and of course remember and recognise the sacrifice of fallen colleagues, and provide a strong statement of support to their families that they are not forgotten.
Events such as this are always moving affairs and also quite humbling, and on a personal note in the absence of my wife who was working that day, my youngest son Edward who is 18 and also attended last year, volunteered to come back with me again this year as he also found it to be a moving ceremony, and one that he wanted to show his support for as a “civilian” and a member of the public who recognises the challenges and pressures on police officers. This year every single police force form the UK was represented, and PTC Trustees DCC Neil Richardson from Police Scotland and ACC Jo Byrne from South Yorkshire were also there to lay wreaths on behalf of their respective Forces.
Our Board of Trustees is also featuring a number of new faces at the moment, and although we like all charities aspire to achieving the right blend of experience and continuity, it is also useful for us to freshen up the board Room, and to bring in some new personalities with new ideas and views. To that end we are very pleased to welcome Heather McDonald and Nigel Bathgate, both from Police Scotland. In recent weeks we have had both a Finance and Personnel Sub Committee Meeting and a full Board of Trustees up in Scotland where I am writing this from at the moment, and there have been a number of big decisions that the board have made lately, which I hope to be in a position to brief you about shortly. That is it for the time being, if you are off on a summer break shortly, make the most of the time to relax, catch up with your families and wind down from work.