The CEO has asked me to write the blog for the month of March, therefore my blog will focus primarily on activities at Castlebrae these past few months.
Here at Castlebrae I always can tell when March is approaching, not because the evenings are getting lighter, snow drops and crocuses are all blooming throughout the centre’s grounds, daffodils are beginning to show themselves, no, it’s because Ronnie our Head Gardener is yet again running around the grounds chasing the grey squirrels and the occasional deer. This one has clearly spotted Ronnie!!
It has certainly been a busy first three months of the year for the Centre and patient numbers have been high. There is a real buzz, and a positive attitude about the place. So far this year Castlebrae has treated 378 patients.
I also have exciting news to share with you all; we have just completed a major expansion and refurbishment of our Conference Facilities at Castlebrae. This has been made possible by a very generous donation from His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Sheikh has made several previous donations to the centre and his latest generosity allowed us to expand our existing conference room and completely refurbish it. The new facilities were officially opened on 23rd February by H.E Mirza Al Sayegh, Chair of the Al Maktoum Foundation.
I am pleased to report that we have already hosted a number of meetings in the new conference room, the latest being the first of four Wellbeing Away Days for officers and staff in Police Scotland’s, Emergency, Events and Resilience Planning Team and Resource Deployment Unit. This all, of course, brings in much needed additional revenue for the charity and anyone within the police family looking for a venue to hold team meetings please bear us in mind, our hire costs are very reasonable and the catering is excellent.
Money from Sheikh Hamdan’s latest donation also went towards the reinstatement of a pond in the grounds. The original pond had become damaged beyond easy repair without investment and so with the Sheikh’s donation the aim is to bring it back to its former self and once again create an environment of peace and relaxation. As you can see from the photos this work is still very much in progress, but is clearly slowly taking shape. Springtime will now allow us to add new planting around the perimeter of the pond.
The plan is to create an area where patients can sit and relax during the better weather and watch the fish swimming around the pond, a perfect spot for patients to concentrate on their well-being.
In terms of activity away from the Centre, the Castlebrae team has been out and about at various events as part of Police Scotland’s wellbeing initiative. The PTC is a key partner in the delivery of this initiative.
Amy Williams, Head Nurse at Castlebrae, and Patient Counsellor, Louise Wardlaw, gave a presentation at a recent Wellbeing Conference held at the Scottish Police College, Tulliallan, and Douglas Jay, our Fitness Supervisor, gave a presentation at a meeting of the MiT Team at Fettes in Edinburgh. Douglas talked about healthy eating, the quality of calories and calorie counting, eating around shifts, making the most of opportunities for exercise with limited time, and the need for lifestyle changes
Graeme Addison, Castlebrae’s Donor Engagement Officer has also been out on the road, often accompanied by one of our physiotherapists, attending various wellbeing events. These events represent a good opportunity to meet with officers and again reinforce what the Charity does and what treatments are on offer. Staying with the networking theme, Graeme will once again be attending the RPAOS conference this year along with our CEO, Patrick Cairns.
I have mentioned in previous blogs about the two lovely Therapet ‘Sprocker’ Spaniels that visit us every Wednesday, Mya and Daisy and with the occasional visit from Chi, a boisterous but totally loveable Labrador.
Can I now introduce you to Fearne who is only 12 weeks old but is being trained to also become a Therapet, and I hope she will become a frequent visitor to the Centre.
Lastly, I wish to say a very big thank you to the Castlebrae Patient Committees, who have so far this year raised an amazing £8,437 for the charity, and across both centres a total of £13,212 has been raised by the patients. I always make a point of mentioning at the Welcome Meetings on a Monday the benefits of having a Patient Committee in place. They provide an important opportunity for patients in residence to get together in the evening to meet and mix, and of course have some fun, be it Bingo or a quiz, whilst raising funds for the Charity at the same time. It really is a ‘win-win’ situation all round.
This concludes my blog for this month. Paul Grant D/CEO PTC, Feliciter Servimus