The police minister has warned officers that the moment they stop paying their Flint House donation is probably the moment they will need the facility.
Kit Malthouse visited the rehabilitation centre in Oxfordshire and described it as ‘outstanding’ but expressed concern that the numbers of donations were falling.
“Policing today is a very different job; it’s much more stressful with more opportunity for injury and problems physically as well as trauma that can lead to mental health difficulties. So the need for this really outstanding facility is growing,” he explained.
“The only negative I’ve heard is that a reducing number of police officers are supporting this charity through the small weekly donations and, of course, the moment you stop paying those subscriptions sadly might be the moment that you need it.
“It would be great to see those numbers grow so the facilities here can remain in ‘tip top’ shape to help.”
Mr Malthouse’s visit, which coincided with the launch of the Police Covenant on 8 September, included a tour of the charity’s gym and exercise areas and a new swimming pool which is under construction.
He also heard from Flint House charity trustee chairman, Chief Superintendent Ian Wylie, of Avon and Somerset Police, who said: “This charity is funded entirely by donating police officers. We don’t receive any additional funding to deliver this outstanding service and it really contributes to the wellbeing of police forces across the country.”
Flint House is usually attended by around 3, 500 officers from more than 29 forces across England and Wales but the coronavirus pandemic forced it to shut earlier this year. It did, however, continue to provide care and support to over 300 officers through remote consultations and virtual programmes.
Mr Malthouse added: “This organisation has been dedicated to police officer wellbeing for many years and is expanding its facilities in the face of growing need. Happily, the culture in policing has changed from one of ‘pull yourself together’ to one that is now taking physical and mental health much more seriously. You definitely see that when you wander around the corridors here.”
The weekly subscription to Flint House is just £1.70.