Well Spring has not quite sprung at both of our Treatment Centres but it is certainly starting to look more like it as the gardens at Harrogate and Auchterarder come into bloom. We still have the odd weather set back, and I was up in Auchterarder 10 days ago ready to welcome 12 high profile VIP visitors to have a look around the Centre, when the entire visit was cancelled due to a heavy overnight snow dump, but I do hope that the worst is behind us as we move into the rest of the year.
Notwithstanding weather problems we are now well into our stride for the year, patient numbers at both Centres are steadily rising, and we have found that we do have a full house most weeks with vigorous and active Patient Social Committees. We have a constant flow of visitors and conferences at both Centres, and this month it has been particularly busy and included a gathering of the Police Scotland Superintendents in Auchterarder, the International Police Association (IPA) AGM at Harrogate, a separate IPA regional Meeting at Castlebrae, and a variety of other Federation Meetings at both centres. These are important income generators for us at the PTC, and although we ensure that they never impact on the care and treatment of our patients, they also provide an opportunity for attendees to have a look around the Centres and to raise awareness of our work.
We have had some good news this month in terms of generating money. We are very lucky to have received a cheque for £20,000 from His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which is the third such cheque he has presented us with, we also received a cheque for over £2300 from the Scottish Police Credit Union from their annual Golf Day at St Andrews, and I was also very pleased to attend a South Yorkshire Police Rugby Dinner in Sheffield which also raise a large sum of money for the PTC as their charity beneficiary. It can be hard work pushing into this charity beneficiary space to ensure that the PTC is amongst the very first choices for Police Forces and partner organisations when considering who to raise money for, but I am pleased to say in this case the whole PTC team have done an excellent job in persuading other organisations to fund raise for us, all of which is used to directly benefit the patients.
There have been a variety of external visits during this period, and we have continued to target new student officer briefs now that most Police Forces are recruiting again. Of particular significance during this latest batch of briefs, was a visit to Merseyside to brief their new officers on both the PTC and St George’s Police Children’s Trust, and we are very grateful for the Chair of Merseyside Federation Pete Singleton for giving us a platform to talk about both our charities.
In terms of other visits, Paul Grant the DCEO and Mark Oxley the PTC Head of Clinical Services took the opportunity to visit one of the Combat Stress Centres (the military mental health charity) in Scotland recently, and as well as some follow up work to take forward, we were broadly reassured that we at the PTC are focusing on the right things in terms of our treatment at the PTC.
Peter Moore the PTC Chief Financial Officer briefed the North Yorkshire Police Federation on what is new at the PTC and our Psychological Well Being Programme which continues to grow, and the Castlebrae Clinical Team took advantage to support a number of Roadshows run by D Division within Police Scotland with an Occupational Health Focus, and as well as advertising the PTC and the benefits of signing up as donors, they were also able to provide some advice for some of the little injuries and niggles that Officers wished to discuss.
Finally on PTC business, I was invited to attend the Harrogate and Skipton NARPO Branch AGM in March and to talk about the PTC, and I was pleased to say that my talk went down well, with the vast majority of attendees, who recognised that that although we do now expect Retired Officers to be current donors if they want to apply for treatment, they are still very welcome and an important part of the PTC police family.
I am very conscious that I routinely feel that I do not give enough of my time to St George’s Police Children’s Trust, so I am pleased to say that this month, I have met with 2 Chief Constables (CC Jane Sawers from Staffordshire and CC Anthony Bangham from West Mercia) and Sue Arnold the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner from Staffordshire to talk about the charity, the work that we do, and the importance of officers continuing to sign up and to support it for the very modest sum of 20 pence per week. All of them were thoroughly convinced, about the merit and value of St George’s, and promised to vigorously support and endorse our message that we need more officers to sign up to this fantastic charity.
That is all for this month, stay safe wherever you are and whatever you are doing.