The CEO has asked me to write the blog for April so consequently I will focus primarily on what’s going on at Castlebrae.
Apart from some minor Covid restrictions that are still in place while I write this blog, I feel that the Centre is getting back to where it should be. Patient numbers are steadily increasing, Patient Committees are now starting to form and there is a sense of a real positive buzz about the place. The spell of good weather we had at the end of March was just the tonic we needed and it was good to see Patients taking time out to enjoy the sun and relax in the Centre’s grounds.
Due to the geographic location of Castlebrae, we are blessed with some amazing country walks and cycling routes all around us. This is something we have started to incorporate into our Psychological Wellbeing Programme and Fitness Programme. Every Monday we now operate a very successful wellbeing mountain walk and also a group mountain bike class, both of which are proving to be very popular.
Another initiative we are putting in place is a virtual presentation for members of the DEPP (Digital Enabled Policing Programme), the national department currently updating Police Scotland’s IT infrastructure. As the name suggests, this requires team members to spend much of their day sitting in front of a computer. The Physio department were approached by a team member to see if we could provide an online version of our “Back Chat Talk’’ included as part of our Physiotherapy Programme. He felt this would be beneficial to all members of his team. In recent weeks, the Physio team at Castlebrae have been putting together a presentation outline including some facts and myths about back pain and information on working at a computer with some tips and tricks on how you can make this more comfortable. This will be presented to the team in the coming months and will hopefully help them reduce and manage any symptoms experienced by team members. I am delighted we have been able to offer this assistance and again this evidences the Charity’s commitment to assisting Police Officers to better health wherever possible.
Graeme Addison and I have been invited to attend the RPOAS 75th Anniversary Conference. The Retired Police Officers Association of Scotland has always been very supportive of Castlebrae and it will be good to catch up with everyone again after two years of cancelled conferences due to Covid and to hear the latest update on the organisation’s Transition and Wellbeing Strategic Plan.
Now, I have to announce that this will be the last blog I write for the Charity as I will be retiring this year after being with the PTC for 23 and a half years. I started in 1999 as the Head Chef, just three years after Castlebrae first opened its doors, and was appointed the Centre Manager in 2004 before finally taking on the role as Deputy Chief Executive in 2006.
It would be fair to say that during my 23 and half years with the Charity, I have seen a momentous amount of change. This has included the Charitys’ tentative steps into fundraising for ourselves, the introduction of Force Wellbeing Weekends, the evolvement of a first class Psychological Wellbeing Programme and the introduction of Trustee Strategic Workshops. I have also met and worked alongside various Boards of Trustees over the years, all of whom have been committed to the spirit of what the Police Treatment Centres is all about. High points along the way as Centre Manager of Castlebrae have included involving the Centre in major events happening locally such as the G8 Summit, The Ryder Cup, T in the Park, and The Solheim Cup.
There was also the honour and pleasure of being invited to the Lothian Sheepdog Trials, presenting the ‘Castlebrae Cup’ at the local bowling club, and judging flower arrangements and homemade recipes for the local Women’s Institute. Other notable highlights have been overseeing the building of the new fitness facilities at Castlebrae, being involved with the Al Maktoum Foundation, and not forgetting the most recent large event, COP 26. I have also had the pleasure of meeting some remarkable characters within the Police family along the way.
So that’s me. It has been a privilege to work for the Police Treatment Centres. My sincere thanks go to my Senior Management Colleagues for putting up with me over the years, and especially while I was studying for my MBA, and to all the employees at the Charity, with a very special thanks to all the Castlebrae team for your consistent hard work and commitment over the years. You make Castlebrae the special place it is. I must make a special mention to Alison Daly who has worked alongside me as Deputy Centre Manager for 18 years. Alison, thanks for having the best filing system ever!
To all the Police forces that donate to the Charity, thank you for your support. You all do an incredible, worthwhile and difficult job. Rest assured the PTC will be here when you need us, doing what we do best.
My personal thanks to Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Benevolent Fund, the Scottish Police Federation and the Retired Police Officers Association of Scotland for their continued support over the years of Castlebrae, certainly not forgetting the close and very special relationship Castlebrae has always had with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
I am proud to have been a part of this organisation and I have no doubt whatsoever that Castlebrae, and the PTC, will continue to go from strength to strength for many, many years to come.
Paul Grant, DCEO PTC