I had hoped to open this Blog with a full-page colour spread highlighting the first visit to PTC Harrogate by our Patron HRH the Princess Royal, scheduled to take place on Thursday 9 March. Although we had wanted the Princess Royal to see the PTC at work on a normal day, we also wanted to ensure that we showcased the Charity to best effect, so had spent much time in planning, preparation and rehearsal for the big day to ensure that everything would go smoothly.
The weather forecast was starting to look a bit dodgy at the beginning of that week but we were reassured by the Royal Household that there would be a contingency plan in place to ensure that our Patron would arrive at the Centre on the day, come what may. Unfortunately, that bold promise did not take account of the weather and when the big day dawned, the heavens had opened overnight with a snow dump in Harrogate and across much of the country, resulting in the cancellation of the Princess Royal’s Fly Programme and ultimately the visit itself. Although hugely disappointing, there was nothing to be done about it and we are now back to bidding for a new date for the Princess Royal to hopefully visit the Charity this year.
I was watching all of this unfold from the heat and sunshine at the World Police Summit in Dubai. Whilst waiting to be allocated a visit date for the Princess Royal to come to Harrogate, I was invited to speak about Police Officer Wellbeing and The PTC at the World Police summit in Dubai. Imagine my horror when we received the date for the Princess Royal to come to Harrogate and for me to find that it clashed with the World Police Summit after I had accepted that engagement!
By that time, the Dubai Police had already booked and paid for my flights, my accommodation and built a large part of the resilience and wellbeing section of the Conference around my attendance.
The WPS is an annual event mainly focussed on technology and innovation and how it can be utilised to good effect in the prevention and detection of crime and in support of law enforcement. The event is a hugely influential international forum with thousands of participants from 112 countries and over one hundred Police Chiefs from around the world. These included the Commissioner of the NYPD, the LAPD and the Commissioners/Deputy Commissioners from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, New Zealand Police and a host of Police Chiefs from Europe, Africa, and South America.
For the first time ever, a substantial part of the Summit was dedicated to Police Officer trauma, mental health, resilience, and wellbeing. I was invited to speak and contribute to one of the key forums discussing police leadership and wellbeing and how it can be improved and of course, to talk at length about The Police Treatment Centres. There was also an opportunity to present to the Dubai Police Happiness Council about The PTC (which seems a very surreal name to those of us in support of UK policing). It is a Council specifically set up to support their Police Officers’ mental health and wellbeing and as you would expect from the Dubai Police, it is hugely well resourced.
What was absolutely clear from my discussions and meetings is that there is nothing like The PTC anywhere else in the world. Everyone I spoke to was both envious and jealous of The PTC and wished that they had something similar in their own country.
It is sometimes easy to take The PTC for granted but it is worthwhile remembering that we are hugely fortunate to have a Charity providing such care, treatment and support for our Police Patients and the work that The PTC does on behalf of UK policing.There are always lessons to be learned from others and indeed that is one of the aims in attending gatherings of this nature. It was clear that The PTC is leading the way in our innovative work and treatment plans and our ability to grow and evolve. We should be incredibly proud of our work and our Charity.
However, this last month or so has not just been about these two items. There have been a number of other things going on at the same time. The Donor Recruitment and Charity Engagement Team have been travelling all over the country to a variety of sign up meetings and engagements. They were also supported by Tom and Juliet (two of the Harrogate Fitness Trainers) at Bleepkind Expo in collaboration with MDP. We have hosted a number of Conferences at our Centres, welcoming a diverse group of visitors including the High Sheriffs from the wider Yorkshire area for a brief on our work and a tour of the facilities. We have also been working hard behind the scenes trying to secure grants for the Centres, expanding our treatment programmes and ensuring that when our Patients come to the Centres for treatment, whether it is their first or fifth time with us, they genuinely feel that we are there to support and look after them in the best way that we can.
I am very pleased that our feedback reports (which we changed earlier this year to make them easier to fill out), continue to highlight the excellent work that all members of The PTC team deliver day in, day out. I continue to encourage anyone who is thinking about coming to The PTC, to do so at their earliest opportunity.
Continuing the theme of feedback, every year The PTC has a Strategic Planning meeting to discuss the future direction of The PTC in terms of what we do and how we do it. This year the meeting will take place in June. If any of our Donors, Patients or any other readers of this Blog have any views on what they would like to see at the PTC for the future, please drop me a line as I am genuinely interested in everyone’s views, being receptive to all ideas and suggestions as to how we might improve the PTC as we go forward.
I would like to close this Blog by bidding thank you and farewell to Mark Oxley our Head of Clinical Services. Mark is leaving us at the end of this month to take up a new appointment as the Head of Clinical Services at the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF).
Mark has been at The PTC for over 15 years, first as our Head Physiotherapist and latterly as the first Head of Clinical Services. He has made a huge contribution to The PTC during this time both clinically and more widely. He has always been full of good ideas, willing and receptive to look at things differently and move The PTC forward. He has not been afraid to challenge either me or the status quo and has been responsible for a number of good ideas and initiatives, always giving us his best. He has also been good fun to have around the Centres, taking his work seriously but not himself and has always been ready to contribute to some of the more fun and relaxed aspects of the work in the Centre. We will definitely miss Mark (and are slightly worried about who is going to decorate The PTC Christmas Tree in Harrogate this year as that has been his main job every December!!!), but there is no doubt that our loss is the IJF’s gain. We hope to keep in touch with some shared work in the future.
However, much as we will miss Mark, one person’s departure provides an opportunity for another individual to step forward. I am therefore really pleased to announce that we are appointing Sarah Ward our Head Physiotherapist at Harrogate, into the role of The PTC Head of Clinical Services with effect from 1st April. Sarah is a brilliant Physiotherapist who has been at the PTC for 14 years. She is superbly well qualified with extensive wider professional experience including providing physiotherapy support at Olympic Team level. I know that she is really looking forward to the next challenge personally and she will undoubtedly have some good ideas for how we might improve our clinical provision at The PTC. I am satisfied that our overarching Clinical Lead will remain in safe hands.
That is all for this month’s Blog.
Thank you to all our donors and Police Officers, I hope to see many of you at the PTC this year.
Stay Safe Everyone.
Patrick Cairns, CEO PTC