February continued where January left off. We welcomed Chief Constable Steve Ashman from Northumbria for his first visit to the PTC accompanied by Steve Wouldhave who is also a PTC Trustee. Steve Ashman was suitably impressed by everything he saw, and as well as reassuring me that he was a personal donor to both the PTC and St George’s Police Children’s Trust, also made both charities the main subject of his Chief Constable’s Blog that week, encouraging all his officers to sign up for both charities.
I have travelled up to Castlebrae twice in recent weeks for a Board Meeting and a more routine visit. It is actually quite exciting to see the work on the Castlebrae Project, and it is clearly getting closer to the completion date which we still anticipate will be next month (fingers crossed).
In the week beginning 8 February we put the fear of god (literally) into our patients at St Andrews, when we hosted not merely one, but 2 police chaplains in successive days to the Centre. The Reverend Adrian Gatrill who is the police chaplain at Durham visited on the Tuesday, and the Reverend David King from Cleveland visited on the Wednesday. It was a useful visit for both of them, and gave them a better understanding of the type of support that we provide to their officers in time of need. This was followed up by a visit the following day to Liverpool for a meeting with Pete Singleton who is Chair of the Merseyside Police Federation. It was a useful opportunity for a catch up chat with an important Federation partner, and a chance to discuss the merits of the St George’s Police Children’s Trust, which officers can sign up to donate to for 20 pence per week.
The following week I flew to Belfast accompanied by Mark Oxley the PTC Head of Clinical Services and Peter Moore our Chief Financial Officer. The aim of the visit was to gain a familiarisation of the Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust (PRRT) who we work closely with, and of course catch up with the PFNI. We closed out that week by hosting Assistant Chief Officer Gary Ridley from Durham, for his first visit to the PTC, and for a follow up discussion from when Chief Constable Mike Barton had visited us a few weeks ago, about closer complementary working with Durham.
At the beginning of the following week I briefed a group of new student officers from West Yorkshire Police about the value to them of the PTC and St George’s, and I am pleased to say that all of them signed up. This coincided with another Mental Health First Aid Training course that we ran successfully for the PTC staff last year, and is all linked to our work with MIND the Mental Health Charity, and the pledge that we have signed with them.
I should close this blog by marking out 3 marvellous charity fund raising efforts. First of all the PTC were the charity beneficiary of the rugby match between England Police against their Scottish Police counterparts on 10 February in Ilkley, and the England Police Team later went on to nominate the PTC as their charity of the season. We are currently working through how we can maximise the fundraising and publicity from this, but all monies are always welcome.
Secondly the Scottish Police Ice Hockey Team recently played a charity match at Braehead against the NI Tridents where the PTC was one of the beneficiaries, which as well as providing some additional funds, also provided a useful profile and awareness boost for the PTC at a big Ice Hockey game.
Finally I want to highlight the efforts of the Patient Social Committees at both Centres who have been doing magnificently in recent weeks with their fundraising efforts. For those of you who do not know, there is normally a Patient Social Committee each week at each Centre who run a series of fundraising events during the week. As well as being more enjoyable for the patients in residence that week by organising a series of activities, when there is an active committee each week there is a real buzz around the Centre, and we have had a consistent run of the respective committees in each centre, getting over the thousand pound mark each week throughout virtually the whole of February. All of the money raised goes directly towards the PTC, and I really want to thank all of those who act as committee members and get stuck in, they make a real difference to that week, and really help the fundraising activities at the charity.
That is a good note to end the blog on this month.