The CEO has asked me to write the blog for March, so consequently my blog will focus on Castlebrae. Now allegedly, March is when the days get longer, the evenings get lighter and spring officially starts, but as we all know the weather has had other ideas lately! However it doesn’t stop nature’s progress, snow drops and crocuses are all blooming (when not covered in snow), daffodils are beginning to show themselves and the grey squirrels are running around the grounds at Castlebrae, frantically searching for food. The other day we even had a small herd of deer stopping by to munch on some of our shrubbery, much to the delight of our Head Gardener Ronnie, who was seen running around arms waving in the air frantically chasing off the visiting wildlife!
Now unless you are David Attenborough, there aren’t too many places where you can see all this happening while at your work place. I always think that when officers are due to attend for treatment for the first time, there is always a little apprehension about what the place will be like and what will they find when they get here etc. Please be assured, it truly is a special place, a place to relax, unwind and focus on getting better, a place that offers the best of treatment and care to all our patients.
Staying with the garden theme, we now have a greenhouse on the grounds at Castlebrae which will help the gardeners and may provide some products for the kitchen to use as well as being a potential resource for officers on our Psychological Wellbeing Programme. The inner courtyard Wellbeing Garden is beginning to mature and will also be a wonderful addition to the centre for all patients and employees to use.
Speaking of wellbeing, we have been gifted an aquarium with tropical fish, in the ‘Walk-Through-Lounge’. We also have a new therapist visiting us every Wednesday called Chi, a young Golden Labrador who is already proving to be a hit with the patients and employees. Both are just small but important additions making the centre more homely, helping our patients relax, and generally improving wellbeing.
Amy Williamson, Head Nurse at Castlebrae and Graeme Addison, Donor Engagement Officer, recently met up with Sgt Sandra Fleming of Police Scotland to discuss the possibility of our nursing department providing a one-off stress and sleep workshop for officers and staff at the Scottish Police College, Tulliallan. Amy has also recently introduced a new group therapy class into the Psychological Wellbeing Programme which will be supported by the Patient Advisors.
Work on keeping our premises in first class condition never ends and we are already well into our refurbishment programme for 2018. Work has started on the refurbishment of bedrooms 18 to 35 and we have also decked out both our main patient lounges with lovely new furniture.
It has also been a busy time at Castlebrae for visitors to the centre. On the 15th February 2018, Mr Penman of HMIC Scotland, used the centre’s conference facilities for a team meeting. It is always good to see Mr Penman who has always been a strong supporter of the charity and the work that we do and regularly uses the centre for meetings which of course helps bring extra revenue into the charity.
On the 22nd February 2018, Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable, Rose Fitzpatrick and Jude Hellilcker HR Director for Police Scotland, visited the centre. DCC Fitzpatrick presented the charity with a Police Scotland wall shield which we will display proudly along with all our other force shields.
The following day, we played host to Robert Duffy of the Thin Blue Line charity who are raising funds for the PTC. These visits are all very important to us as they are not only excellent networking opportunities, they also allow us to showcase the treatment programmes provided by the Charity.
To round off a very busy week at the centre, on the 24th February 2018, we had a visit from His Excellency Mirza Al Sayegh, Chairman of the Al Maktoum Foundation and right hand man to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai. The Sheikh has been a generous supporter of the charity for a few years now and funded the purchase of our first Alter G treadmill at Castlebrae. On this occasion, Mirza Al Sayegh visited on behalf of the Sheikh to open our new library for patients that was funded by Sheikh Al Maktou.
.On the Catering front, Chris Parry the Head Chef has been producing a new Castlebrae recipe book which is on sale for a mere £5, all proceeds going to the Charity. The previous recipe book produced by Chris and his team has been a best seller for many years and now we hope these new updated recipes will be every bit as popular.
The final visit to Castlebrae I want to mention this month, was a visit from the Head Physiotherapist, Melanie Stewart and Assistant Manager, Callum Davidson of Scottish Premiership Football Club, St. Johnstone FC. Melanie and Callum popped in to take a look at our wonderful fitness facilities and during the visit we were able to show them our two Alter G treadmills. St. Johnstone FC are based just 20 minutes from Castlebrae in Perth. Melanie was aware of our work having referred an officer to us for treatment in a previous job but Callum was unaware of our centre.
As I said, it has been a very busy time for Castlebrae and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down any. Patient numbers are high keeping us all very busy in the centre. Out and about, Graeme Addison Donor Engagement Officer and I, are kept busy attending various events and wellbeing days around the country. We are now preparing for the annual Scottish RPOA conference in April 2018.
Well that is it for this month’s blog. Stay safe wherever you are and whatever you are doing, and remember we are here for you when you need us.
Happily We Serve
Deputy Chief Executive