For those who don’t know me, my name is Liam Kelly and for my sins, I have been a Police Treatment Centres (PTC) Trustee since March 2015. The CEO Colonel Patrick Cairns has asked me to compile a guest blog as he found himself overall busy this month.
I am delighted to inform you that he has recently been formally gazetted as a Deputy Lieutenant within West Yorkshire! This is a massive endorsement of the great work Patrick does on a day to day basis and provides another platform for him to both network and promote our charities. So congratulations Patrick Cairns DL!
Now without further ado let’s get on with the blog!
2018 has been an eventful year for me. In January I was elected as the Assistant Secretary of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland and appointed as Secretary/Director of the RUCGC-PSNI Benevolent Fund charity. For serving or retired police in Northern Ireland it is the Committee of this charity that recommends and facilitates attendance at both PTC Centres. In April 2018 this Committee also approved a payment to enable PSNI officers to be able to join the St Georges Police Children’s Trust (SGPCT). This was a personal long standing ambition of mine and I am delighted that PSNI officers are now involved. The initial uptake has been slow so I would encourage active promotion of the charity so that all police children are able to benefit from the fantastic support available.
In early May, following the retirement of Ian Hanson QPM, I was elected as Chair of the Board of Trustees for both the PTC and SGPCT. I am honoured and humbled to have the support of my fellow trustees and, if you happen to visit Harrogate, you will see my name on one of the big wooden boards as your enter the building! I am very proud to be the first trustee from Northern Ireland to be listed on this board (some would say I am out of place amongst such exalted company!)
My first official duties involved assisting with the logistics and marshalling at the Back OnThe Beat Cycling Sportive in Harrogate. I had completed this event the previous year, but unfortunately due to injury, was unable to cycle it this time. Yet again it was a fantastic event with over 100 riders completing the various routes in glorious sunshine.
Thank you to all participants as fundraising is a very important aspect of our charities. All being well I’ll be able to get back in the saddle again next year for the next one on Sunday 12th May 2019. I would urge all cyclists to get involved in this fundraiser and get the date in the diary - you won’t regret it (although you might not feel that way on the day as you traverse the hills on the route!)
In June I attended Board Management Training in London with the CEO. This was followed by facilitating both trustees training and the Annual General Council Meeting (ACGM) in Harrogate. From my perspective everything went pretty well and it was wonderful to introduce to the attendees our new President, Baroness Angela Harris of Richmond. I look forward to working alongside Angela in promoting and extolling the virtues and benefits of both Charities.
The ACGM also gave me the opportunity to thank, say goodbye and wish well for the future to four of our trustees following their retirements from policing - Karl Thurogood, Ian Spittal, Steve Wouldhave and Ian Hanson QPM. I also welcomed their very capable replacements Dan Murphy, Dave Simpson, Martin Lally and Jason Harwin. Finally, I presented my fellow PSNI colleague Mark Lindsay with a commemorative certificate for his 8 years as a trustee. Mark stepped down as he has recently been appointed as Chair of the Police Dependents Trust charity. I wish Mark well in his new role and he will be sorely missed within our Board.
In July the fun continued with more meetings in Harrogate with the CEO and Finance and Human Resources Committee. As I write this I am on my way to chair the Trustees Strategic Workshop and main Board of Trustees meeting at Castlebrae, Auchterarder. Between these events is the annual barbecue where trustees get the opportunity to mingle and socialise with staff and thank them for all the fantastic work that they have done and continue to do. It is truly an honour and a privilege to see at first hand, in front and behind the scenes, the collaborative teamwork, inspirational commitment and fantastic work of our staff at both centres. As I alluded to at the ACGM, staff aspire to collectively create a truly magical experience for all those who cross our thresholds and for that they have my heartfelt gratitude. So to all staff - thank you for everything that you do and keep up the fantastic work!
I also got to say a fond farewell to Trustee Drew Harris as he retires from the PSNI. Drew has been appointed as the new Commissioner of An Garda Siochana and will be a big loss both to UK Policing and our charities.
In closing, as austerity at last begins to ebb, 2018 will see the Board of Trustees continue to work to support the PTC and SGPCT charities and consolidate our position against a backdrop of reducing officer donors. We will continue to diversify and evolve as we adapt to the changing needs of policing and the impact on police officers and the extended police family. Over the next 12 months we hope to progress our plans to expand the facilities at Harrogate and future proofing both charities by seeking new funding streams, promoting the need for more donors and becoming more efficient and effective in how we do what we do.
Thanks for taking the time to read my guest blog. If I’ve been good maybe I’ll be allowed to do another one next year! I leave you with some life advice:
“It is what it is. It was what it was. It will be what it will be. Don’t stress it!”
Take care and keep safe”
Chairman of the Board of Trustees for PTC and SGPCT