I think that we can safely say that 2018 is now firmly in the rear-view mirror and we have hit the ground running at both of the Police Treatment Centres for 2019. All of the PTC team returned to work on Monday 7th January and commenced activity with a half loading of patients that week in order to balance admissions throughout the year on what is a 2 week admission cycle.
Despite my intentions to focus on our internal activity for that first week, we hosted 2 external visitors. The Chief Constable of Northumbria, Winton Keenen, was the first remarking that he had been to the PTC once before many years ago. He was delighted to see it moving with the times and being truly reflective of the modern police service.
Our next visitor later on that same week was the Chair of PFEW John Apter. John has been directly involved with our sister charity, Flint House (down south), for many years and indeed many other police charities. This was his first visit to the PTC and he was hugely impressed by everything that we do. He also had the opportunity to chat to a number of our police patients who were in that week. It was gratifying that the message they regularly pass on to the PTC staff of how much they value what we do, was also echoed in their discussions with John behind closed doors. It was also an opportunity for us to try and jump on the back of John Apter’s social media followers, which although not in the league of the Kardashian Family, are still significant. This afforded us an opportunity to benefit from a number of retweets (which I think I just about understand), and an increase in followers and other publicity.
In terms of our external engagement, it is probably worth mentioning our Donor Engagement Team who are really making a difference in terms of our footprint and activity. Last year the team conducted 293 external visits including attendance at Conferences, New Student Officer Briefs, Pre –Retirement Seminars and almost every other form of activity that you can think of. This was a quadrupling of the activity that we were engaged with in 2016 and is a critical way of ensuring that we get our messaging out about both the PTC and St George’s Police Children Trust. It is worthwhile pointing out that this engagement stretches across the UK and involves a tremendous amount of hard work by the team. If you do see them out where you are, please go over and say hello as it is always good to see a friendly face when on PTC business.
Visitors continued later throughout January and in to early February and we were delighted to welcome Chief Constable Iain Livingstone for his first formal visit as Chief to our Centre in Castlebrae. This also gave us an opportunity to thank Iain and indeed Police Scotland for a very generous large grant that they made to the PTC last year. Iain was accompanied by Angela Maclaren who will be joining the PTC Board of Trustees. That visit was followed, in short order the following day, by Paula Hilman who will also be joining the Board as one of the PSNI Trustees. After collecting my breath and taking part in the first main Board of Trustees meeting in Castlebrae, it was then time to rush back down to Harrogate to host Rachael Etebar, Director of People and Culture and Nisa Carey, Head of Health and Safety and Occupational Health Services for the British Transport Police.
Although hosting some of these visits can be exhausting in themselves, it is always time well spent and an opportunity to drill down into some of the key issues, particularly when talking one on one to a Chief Constable who is not surrounded by a sea of staff officers!
I am pleased to say that we have also welcomed grants from some of our constituency forces in the first few weeks of the year and some of these were from forces making donations for the first time. I should highlight PSNI who continue to be extremely active supporters of the PTC in many ways, including by making large annual grants to the charity each year which benefit all of our patients and not just those from PSNI. There are still some of our constituency forces who do not make any donations to the PTC and have not done so in my almost 5 years. I can assure you that I do continue to chase them for financial support but I would also encourage our supporters out there who might be reading this blog, next time that you see a member of your Chief Officer Team or Police and Crime Commissioner PCC (in England and Wales), ask them if they make grants to the PTC to support our work, and if not, why not.
Our external non police family donors continue to be supportive and we are always looking for new opportunities. It is clear that once they do hear about the PTC and our work, they are hugely impressed by what we do, particularly with our Wellbeing Programme which continues to go from strength to strength making a real difference for our patients who attend it. Many of these external donors are keen to help us.
As if none of this was enough, it is very much appraisal season at the PTC so we have all been going through the work to ensure that we set out our work plan and expectations for the whole team over the next 12 months. I also took the opportunity to brief all members of staff on our achievements in 2018 and what are plans are for 2019, through the medium of 7 separate sessions of CEO’s Question Time. It was inspiring to hear how well motivated all of our employees are and how much they value being part of something important.
I think that is enough for this blog, and I hope to see many of you at one of our centres in 2019.
Patrick Cairns, CEO PTC