It is my pleasure to be writing the blog for October as it gives me the opportunity to update you all on what is happening at Castlebrae. But before I do that I want to say, as the Centre Manager, how good it is to see Castlebrae getting back to a sense of normality after what has been a very difficult time for many of us. We still have a few measures in place to ensure we are compliant with Scottish Government Covid Guidelines but as I walk around the Centre (much to the groans of the employees), I sense there is a buzz about the place and a very positive vibe from both Employees and Patients, that everyone just wants to get on with it now.
That feeling of wanting to crack on now, was definitely the key message that came from the Police Treatment Centre’s AGM that I attended in Harrogate at the end of September. Even with the periods of lockdown, both Centres have to date treated approximately 1300 patients this year. There are so many positive events happening across both sites that the future looks good.
This month we held our annual Joint Heads of Department meeting here at Castlebrae. This involves all Departmental Heads from both Harrogate and Auchterarder meeting to discuss a range of operational issues. It also gives us the opportunity to meet face to face with our colleagues across the two sites, to build upon the ethos of working as a team and more importantly, allows us to exchange ideas and to strategically plan ahead.
Since reopening earlier this year, we have been able to facilitate a number of Wellbeing Sessions for Police Scotland here at Castlebrae. Amy Williamson, Head Nurse and her team, have done an amazing job in tailoring a program to facilitate this. I hope this continues as Castlebrae really is a perfect setting for groups of Officers to de-stress and re-focus and to make time for themselves after a difficult period at work.
Keeping to the Wellbeing theme, we have recently introduced two new classes to our Wellbeing Programme. Thanks to Scott Ramsay, a member of the fitness team, completing his Mountain Bike Leadership Level 2 qualification through Cycle Scotland, we are now able to run an Outdoor Group Cycling Class. Scott’s new qualification enables him to take Patients out on organised outdoor group cycle sessions. We are currently running these classes on a Monday afternoon and all allocated spaces are quickly taken each week. We are very fortunate that around the Centre there are various excellent cycling routes from which to choose from.
Douglas, our Fitness Supervisor, also undertook some new training recently. He did his Summer Mountain Leader Training, organised by Mountain Training, in Fort William and Glen Coe for a week in September. He plans to take his assessment in 2022 but as part of his consolidation phase, he is taking Wellbeing Patients into the hills surrounding Auchterarder on a Monday morning. This is very different from the morning walk originally on our Wellbeing Programme and of course now involves a more strenuous hill walk. I am pleased to report that the first ‘amble’ has taken place and was well attended and enjoyed by all. The group all managed to scale the dizzy heights of our local summit, “Craig Rossie”. Ihave no doubt both these classes will become extremely popular and they both promote the value of spending time outdoors in aiding wellbeing.
The easing of the restrictions in Scotland has meant that Graeme Addison, Castlebrae’s Donor Engagement Officer, can once again get out and about promoting the work of the Charity, engaging with Serving and Retired officers and with a few Patients who want to become PTC ambassadors. Graeme has been attending Pre-Retirement seminars throughout Scotland and as part of our National Recruitment Campaign that we have been running during September and October, he has also been on the road signing up new donors to the charity who can now access the excellent treatments available at our two Centres. As well as being out meeting Officers face to face, Graeme and his colleagues have also been running virtual information sessions, tours of Castlebrae and St. Andrews and question and answer sessions for any Officers, serving or retired, who were thinking of donating but wanted some more information first. These have been well received by those attending.
On a lighter note, I am also pleased to report that we will soon have the company of ‘Miss Bunti’, our new Therapy dog. ‘Miss Bunti’ will be joining us later this month for the first of her weekly visits to the Centre to meet patients and will no doubt very quickly become part of the Castlebrae family.
Well, that concludes my blog for October. Everyone take care, stay safe wherever you are and whatever you are doing, and we hope to see you at the PTC in the near future.
Paul Grant, Deputy Chief Executive.