On reflecting on my blog from this time last year, I had rather suspected this would be a year of consolidation and a steady hand on the tiller, but that has most certainly not been the case, and it has been another 12 months of activity and improvements in both of our centres. I am never short of things to write about, and this has been very much the case since my last blog.
We have continued to brief as many new student officers as we can on their sign up day around our constituent forces, and we are always very grateful to Federations for allowing us some time in their window to talk about the benefits of the PTC and St George’s Police Children Trust. We are also increasingly now briefing at retirement seminars to try to catch those en route to retirement, and ensure that they are fully aware of the many ways they can continue to support the PTC through signing up to donate in retirement, joining our lottery, and of course visiting both centres as B&B venues.
We have, as is the norm, welcomed a number of visitors to the PTC during this period including, Alex Marshall who is the CEO of the College of Policing, Nick Brown who is the Mayor of Harrogate, Simon Chesterman who is the DCC of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, and Simon Torr who is the DCC of Nottinghamshire Police. All of these were great visits and are all part of raising the wider knowledge and awareness of the PTC, but one of the things that I found to be particularly interesting, is that it was the first visit that any of them had made to us during a very long period of service in the police. I am pleased to say that all our visitors were hugely impressed by what we are doing, and there are a couple of follow on discussion issues for us to take forward with them.
We also support conferences and meetings at both our centres on a payment basis for police partners, and we have done this to full effect recently at Harrogate by hosting a Trauma Risk Management Course (TRiM) Course, which not only is a serious and important business, but also gave many of our colleagues from the southern English police forces the opportunity to have a look at what they are missing out on by not being part of the PTC!!
We have also been the recipient of a large cheque for £1200 from Durham Police Federation who on the 18 November hosted their annual Federation Dinner and made the PTC their charity beneficiary. We are always really grateful when police federations and partners choose to support us in this way, and it helps us at the PTC to support our patients when they come through. I also managed to find time to squeeze in a visit to Combat Stress on 28 November who are the leading Veteran’s Mental Health charity in the UK. Visits of this nature our always useful in that they allow us to measure ourselves against the service that other similar organisations provide, and to pick up examples of best practise. I am pleased to say I came away reassured that we are not merely on the right track at the PTC with our Psychological Wellbeing Programme, it is actually an outstanding programme in its own right, and compares very favourably with what Combat Stress are doing. We anticipate that the numbers of officers who will benefit from this programme in the future are going to grow, and we will continue to develop and evolve our programme to ensure that when our officers present with psychological injuries, we are well placed to treat and support them in the most effective manner possible.
We will close for Christmas this year on Thursday 22 December and then re-open for new admissions on Monday 9 January. As well as a break for the PTC team to recharge their batteries, this will also allow us to carry out some major maintenance work and programmes that we cannot do when we have patients in residence. There is much to look forward to though in the near future, and this includes the delivery of a completely new set of fitness equipment for the gym in our Centre at Auchterarder.
We have been very much aware that although the new Health and Fitness Complex which opened there earlier on this year is outstanding, the equipment in it was not, and was starting to look very dated. We are hugely grateful to the Scottish Police Benevolent Fund therefore who have generously given us a grant of £32000 which will allow us to replace all of this equipment in the Centre, and ensure that we are able to deliver the class leading treatment that we are so proud of. I hope that by the time that you read this the fitness equipment will not be too much further away in terms of its installation, and we will do some PR in the New Year around this to ensure that we publicly thank the Scottish Police Benevolent Fund for their generosity.
I think the only other thing that I want to highlight for 2017, is that we have just signed off on the organisation for a Cycling Sportive which will consist of a 50km course and a 100 km course and will take place on Sunday 14 May 2017 to raise money for the PTC. We are hoping to have hundreds of police cyclists taking part who will raise money for us, so if you are a keen cyclist and want to have both a great day out and to support the PTC, please put this date in your diary.
That is about it for this year, it has been another hugely successful year for the PTC during which we have treated thousands of patients, returning many of them to duty much earlier than would otherwise be the case. I would like to thank all of the PTC employees at both Centres who have been absolutely fantastic, and of course thank all of our patients and donors for your support this year.
I will close by wishing you a safe, peaceful and happy Christmas holiday, however you may celebrate it, and whether you are on or off duty. I do hope that you have an opportunity to spend at least some of the Christmas period with Family, Partners and friends and to relax and enjoy yourself, and I will look forward to seeing some of you at the PTC in 2017.