By the time that you are reading this month’s blog, we will be almost halfway through the year which has picked up pace with the recent sunshine and is now thundering by.
The occupancy levels for both Centres have been slightly down recently, partly as a combination of half-term holidays, the end of exams for those with children, family holidays and for a variety of other reasons. Occupancy is now picking up and we have had some busy weeks. I would encourage those of you who are reading this and needing treatment to apply for a place at the PTC as soon as you can, therefore ensuring that you are able to secure your stay at a time that works best for you. I would also highlight that we have cottages at both of our Centres, so if it better suits you to bring your family with you when you apply for a stay, you can do so. Please speak to the team about this option at the PTC when submitting your application.
In June we always have our Strategic Planning meeting and our AGM and both of those have just taken place. One thing that has always impressed me about all the Boards of Trustees that I have worked with over the last 9 years is their appetite for constructive change and for moving the PTC and The Police Children’s Charity (TPCC) forward. This year has been no different. We have embraced some major changes in terms of eligibility for the PTC and TPCC in recent years to ensure that it is as inclusive as possible to access, and we also continue to review the donation rate. We know that there is never a good time to raise the donation or indeed prices more widely and we are conscious that the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit many of our donors, so we will continue to be diligent with all costs and expenditure whilst committing to delivering our class leading treatment programmes at the same level, if not better, than before.
In terms of TPCC, disappointingly the change in name from its previous version of SGPCT has failed to halt the slide in donor numbers in recent years. We did recognise that this would be a slow burn because it can take 12 -24 months for us to see the results of anything that we do. We do believe that we will not be in a position to comment on donor numbers with any degree of certainty until 2025 at the earliest. This will give us some more time to make our contingency plans if we need to do so. On a positive note, the Trustees did decide at the recent Strategic Planning Meeting to add another benefit to an already impressive list of TPCC benefits. We will now make a Birthday Award Gift to all of our beneficiaries each year up until the age of 18.
Following on from our Strategic Planning Meeting, we held the AGM at Harrogate this year. This provided an opportunity for us to brief all the attendees from most of our constituent forces on what we have been doing over the last 12 months and on some of our plans. This year the AGM was very well attended and provided a welcome opportunity for us to show those who had not visited PTC Harrogate recently around the Centre and to showcase our facilities.
Turning to other news, we have received a couple of very welcome donations and grants recently and an impressive fundraising effort to highlight. We do not really get many donations from outside the Police, but I was delighted to receive on behalf of the PTC this year, a donation of £25,000 from the Cheshire Beach Tennis Club. We were made recipients as the President of the Tennis Club was a former PTC Trustee called Derek Barnett. The Tennis Club unfortunately was forced to close last year and according to their articles, they had to gift the balance of any remaining funds to a Charity. I am delighted to say that because of Derek’s former association with the PTC, the Committee decided to make us a beneficiary of a substantial payment as they wrapped up this fund which we intend to use to improve some of our wellbeing provisions at both Centres.
Equally impressive was the feat by Mark Marshallsay who is one of our Trustees and a BTP Officer. Mark walked 87 KM (or 54 Miles) in a non-stop 24 hours on a PTC gym treadmill in May and raised a marvellous £3100 for the PTC. He also burned 74,000 calories! Very well done indeed to him, I think all his blisters have just about now popped and disappeared!
I would also like to thank all of those who have done the Big Step challenge over the last month and walked literally millions of steps. Some of you have done this for the PTC and I would like to particularly recognise Liam Kelly our Chair of the Board of Trustees, Andy Malcolm the Executive Officer at PTC Auchterarder and Liz, one of our elite Housekeeping team at PTC Harrogate (and many others too numerous to mention), all of whom must have worn out their shoe soles with all of the steps they have completed over the last month, but all of whom raised a fabulous sum of money in sponsorship for the PTC.
We are always trying to improve our treatment standards at the PTC and continue to find new and better ways of understanding the issues that our Police Patients face and more importantly, then how to treat and support them. Part of this ambition was hosting a visit to PTC Auchterarder in June by Dr Marshall Garrett who is a world-renowned concussion or Minor Treatment Brain Injury expert (MTBI). Marshall is more widely known for his work within sport and the impact of concussion injuries in rugby, but he is now turning his attention to policing. He conducted a masterclass for the clinical and fitness team in Auchterarder about concussion causes, warning signs, long term impact and treatment plans. There is still much work to be done in this regard, but we have plans to get Marshall to our Harrogate Centre and then to work out a plan and some initiatives to take forward in this critical injury area.
Finally, it has felt like quite a long period for me personally when I have been all over the UK recently on a variety of conferences and meetings. I was very pleased to attend the PFNI Conference in Limavady last month, and at the invitation of the PTC Chair and the Chair of PFNI Liam Kelly, to then deliver a presentation about TPCC to all their Federation Representatives highlighting all the benefits of TPCC, asking them to pass the word on about this brilliant Charity and encouraging others to sign up.
I shall draw this Month’s Blog to a close here. Stay safe all and I hope to see many of you as I travel out and about over the summer months.
Patrick Cairns, CEO PTC and TPCC