I’m a serving officer from West Midlands and suffered two separate incidents where I’ve had a dog bite my leg causing a significant leg injury, the second incident I had three operations on a dislocated finger which resulted in it being removed.

The physical side has been hard but the psychological side has been a constant battle and being diagnosed with PTSD, Depression and Anxiety. I thought I was a strong character but Mental Health isnt picky. It resulted in hair loss, stress, hypervigilance which is exhausting. I can only describe it as being in the fight/flight state, annoyingly sensitive to sound which made me so jumpy. I hated it and felt so weak/vulnerable.

But I reached out and have had some amazing support.

Which brings me nicely on to my 4 night stay at St Michaels Lodge.

All I can say is Wow. What a beautiful and relaxing place. The first day I arrived I walked in not knowing what to expect and my only comparison was one stay at Flint House.

It isn’t Flint House, it is completely different. It’s a lot quieter, a lot more peaceful, relaxing and a lot less staff. It took me some getting used to as I like to be busy so it wasn’t something I was acclimatised too.

However it really has been amazing. I feel so relaxed. There is a great gym, pilates studio and a very beautiful swimming pool with a hydrotherapy pool.

There is a sauna and amazing hot tub.

You really are left to your own devices, no one comes to your room and disturbs you. You are left in peace. But if you want anything the small number of staff are more then happy to help. And as you walk round you see that. There are seating areas outside, lounge area and a games room with pool table in.

The rooms are well equipped, with tea making facilities, towels and a hair dryer. The staff do replace if you ask.

The food is delicious and the lovely housekeeping lady Linda doubles up as hospitality staff brings out your food from the chef.

I had one of the treatments by Trisha who has such a lovely calming nature about her and did Reiki which was all about relaxing.

Thank you to all the wonderful staff, I cannot remember all the names but you’ve all made me feel so welcome. And Ive met some great people.

Terri Cave

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Firstly I just want to say thank you for your very kind grant award. There are no words to describe how much it has and will help me and my family and it assists in so many ways than financial alone.

I know that no words will be able to justly explain how I feel about your kindness however I have seen that you have a testimonial section and would like to offer the following:

When suddenly being effected by a chronic illness, your life is turned completely upside down. Not only does your personal and home life become extremely stressed and fractured, your own personal resolve suffers greatly and your ability to cope becomes tested in all manner of ways you would never expect.

In addition it may mean an inability to work and as well as the emotional issues this causes it also causes many more unseen and unexpected financial implications.

The North West Police Benevolent Fund kindly provided a grant to assist me in a time of extreme personal turmoil and this has meant I have been able to keep at least some order of normality in my life. Small things like being able to keep my car running and pay my rent whilst being on reduced and no pay.

Whilst these things may seem trivial to some the amount of stress relieved by the awarding of a grant is indescribable and means I can focus my attentions to combatting my chronic illness instead of worrying how on earth I am going to make it through the next month financially.

Words alone cannot describe how much of a difference your grant has made at such a stressful time of my life. Thank you for your kindness and caring.

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I am a retired Police Officer from Cumbria, now aged 62.

In 1999, whilst still serving, I began to suffer lower back problems which rapidly degenerated and required the removal of a disc in my lower back in 2001.

The later onset of osteo-arthritis in my legs and spine and heart trouble led to progressive mobility problems. This led to the consequent and most unwelcome difficulties with personal care and independent living, placing quite a significant burden upon my wife.

Through Cumbria Police Federation, I was directed to the Police Benevolent Fund and the possibility of practical assistance to make my daily needs more manageable.

Through expert guidance and the excellent support of Paul Senior, I was able to make a successful application for financial support to install a ground floor wetroom in my house, which previously had only an upstairs bathroom/toilet.

The extremely generous and effective approach adopted by the Fund was to identify what would be of greatest help to me – not to set a budget and me to make the best of it.

The upshot was, in summer 2016 I had the use of a custom fitted wetroom with full disability support that would not look out of place in a top hotel.

There are safety hand rails throughout, a custom height handbasin, a specialised toilet, a double head shower for both standing and seperate foot care and a full body drier: nothing was overlooked – even a wall heater and shaving mirror.

The siting on the ground floor of the wet room meant that the frequent and very uncomfortable trips upstairs were no longer necessary and the repeated aggravation to my arthritis much reduced. The toilet aids I will gloss over, but the boost to my dignity and confidence was worth its weight in gold. I can now shower safely on my own – sitting if I feel dizzy or if I just need to wash my feet for diabetic care. The body drier is amazing. With restricted upper body movement, conventional drying with a towel was always uncomfortable and difficult; now I can just stand in the strong draughts of hot air and let technology do the work.

With the custom height of fittings, the room is designed to meet my needs if I need to use my wheelchair inside the house in future and the specialised floor and drainage means that slips, falls and splashes are no longer a worry.

In summary, through the excellent support of Cumbria Federation and the generosity of the Trustees to the North West Police Benevolent Fund, my life and personal care has become significantly easier and less negative in its impact upon my health and daily well being.

This has greatly boosted my confidence and personal morale, plus, if my health deteriorates further, the facilities of my ground floor wetroom are able to keep meeting my care needs and ensuring one less problem about which to worry, should that time come.

Once I started using the wetroom, my family immediately noticed an improvement in my day to day care and we all will remain forever grateful to Paul and the North West Police Benevolent Fund for their overwhelming generosity.

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