The last time I wrote the Blog on behalf of the CEO was in May 2016, and here I am again a year later, so it would seem as if the month of May is certainly my month for blog writing.
Last May I was telling you all about the new health and fitness complex at Castlebrae that had only just reached completion, well we are a year on now and I can say it’s a delight to be able to show the new facilities off to visitors and more importantly to see the response from officers attending for treatment, particularly those who had previously been with us prior to the construction of the new facilities.
The feedback from patients has been overwhelmingly positive.
I can also report, though some of you will already know, that we also now have at Alter G anti-gravity treadmill at Castlebrae. It truly is an amazing piece of equipment and has been in constant use since its arrival in our new refurbished gym. I haven’t personally used it myself yet, but watch this space!
Graeme Addison and I attended the Scottish Retired Officers (RPOAS) Conference on the 6th and 7th of April, held at the Westerwood Hotel in Cumbernauld. I was delighted to have the opportunity to address the delegates and inform them on a number of topics regarding the work of the Charity. Graeme meanwhile took a shine to the
police car on display outside the hotel. I think it brought back memories of “Z” cars on TV.
It was a good opportunity to catch up with our friends in the RPOAS and we were made most welcome. While attending the conference we also received a very generous chequefor£1000.00 from the Ayrshire branch of the RPOAS.
On the 12th April Mark Oxley Head of Clinical services and I attended a Police Scotland Q Division workshop on Wellbeing in the Workplace at the divisional headquarters in French Street as a key partner with shared interests in Officer Wellbeing. It is important that Police Scotland and the other key partners adopt a collaborative approach in taking this work forward and identify how we can work together on this important subject. As many of you already know, the Charity has been providing a two week, structured, Psychological Wellbeing Programme designed specifically for Serving Officers.
When attending the Police Treatment Centres on the Psychological Wellbeing Programme, you can expect to take part in group sessions in stress management, workshops focusing on subjects such as relaxation, sleep and mindfulness, group exercise sessions, and also individual counselling and complementary therapy sessions. The new structured Psychological Wellbeing Programme was first rolled out at the beginning of April 2016 at Harrogate and then at the beginning of August 2016 at Auchterarder and it is proving to be a very forward-thinking initiative with very positive feedback and in much demand.
Despite the completion last year of our new fitness complex at Castlebrae things never stand still for long and there are always other small improvements needed here and there to move the charity forward and keep it at the forefront in its field. During the major building work our estates team lost their original workshop but we have now completed construction of a new workshop which was officially opened on 30th April.
We are also looking at plans to more effectively utilise the inner courtyard created between the residential wing and the new pool. Ronnie McMillan, the Head Gardener, has come up with plans to transform that zone into an external wellbeing area. More on that in a future blog.
We are also about to embark on a moderate refurbishment of the Physiotherapy Department. This exciting and much needed work will give the department a much fresher and more modern look. Other improvements and upgrades happening around the centre include the dining room at Castlebrae which has gone through a major make-over with new carpets, curtains, tables and chairs, as well as a slightly different layout, giving it a modern look with a fresh Scottish overtone
Alison Daly, Castlebrae Operations Manager, has also been overseeing the upgrading of some more single rooms into double rooms. We now have 30 double bedrooms in place which is particularly useful for our B&B trade at Castlebrae.
In terms of visitors at Castlebrae this month, Geraldine Balfour Regional Manager for the Scottish Qualifications Authority was on site to meet with myself and Patrick Cairns and proved to be an abundant source of contacts that we can follow up on for potential funding opportunities. We also had Brett Davidge, General Manager of the Apex Hotel in Dundee, who following his visit to the centre has invited us to make a pitch to the hotels Charity Committee. The purpose of these visits is simply to build up a good network of contacts and ultimately potential donors to the Charity.
Time now to finish off this blog, but before I do I just want to mention again two greatly valued members of the Castlebrae team. They are of course Mya and Daisy our two Therapets who pop in to meet the patients every Wednesday. They are proving to be a massive hit with the officers and I confess I find myself now at the weekly shop buying some treats for them.
Finally, speaking about pets, we are in the process of putting a fish tank in the walk through lounge at Castlebrae. The tank has been kindly donated to the charity and soon patients will be able to relax in the lounge area while watching the fish in the tank.
Deputy Chief Executive