I am a serving Police Officer with Police Scotland, formerly Strathclyde Police with 19 years police service.
In July 2006 I started dating my husband Gregg who was also a serving police officer. Our relationship blossomed and we went on to have two beautiful children now aged 7 and 6.
Back when we first joined Strathclyde, on your first day you are handed all sorts of paperwork to tick and sign to agree to all sorts of different benefit schemes, one of which is the St Georges Police Children’s Trust.
You sign them all having an awareness of what they are for, the minimal amount of money comes directly off your wages and you don’t give it a second thought, all you hope is that you will never need to use it and through time you forget about it and the subscription isn’t an issue it’s just part of your salary.
Then in January 2015, our world was suddenly turned upside down. Gregg suddenly became seriously ill, suffering an acute psychotic episode which subsequently led to him committing suicide.
NEVER SAW THAT COMING!!! NO ONE DID!!!
Gregg had no previous history of mental health and was in overall good health, loved his kids with all his heart, was the best Dad ever, loved me. Even on his last day on this earth he was telling friends this but through his psychosis he was suffering severe paranoia, having delusional thoughts that if they were true would have significantly impacted on our lives. Unfortunately when someone suffers paranoia and delusional thoughts through psychosis they have no perception of reality, this is their reality!
I was faced with a new reality for the kids and I, my husband, best friend and best daddy ever was gone, our hearts were/are broken and along with this came insecurity around my financial stability for the kids and I.
In the days to come after Gregg’s death the Police Federation came and advised me of the benefits that the kids would be entitled to including the St Georges Children’s Trust as Gregg was a paying member (as am I).
I completed the application form pretty much expecting that I would not be entitled to anything and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was granted an allowance for the kids which gets paid to my bank account along with a lump sum for each of my kids at Xmas. There is also the availability for me to apply for extra funding should the need arise to assist the kids in their education or grants for expensive items e.g. musical instruments should they ever show an aptitude for playing one.
The aftermath of dealing with such a tragedy is horrendous and we are still dealing with it to this day. Nothing will bring Gregg back and I would love nothing more than to be not telling this story and our lives back to the way they were but unfortunately I am.
However, the funding from St Georges Police Children Trust helps the kids and I immensely. It helps towards me being able to go part time allowing a better work life balance for the kids whilst assisting us with an annual holiday and having the funding at Xmas alleviates the pressure from me at what can be a very expensive time of year.
You may be thinking you or your family will never need such help, I know I did!
At the time of joining I regarded the Police as a part of my family and was happy to help by paying my subscription to help my bigger family in their time of need, never in a million years did I think that I would indeed be needing help.
So thank you to my colleagues/friends/family who are contributing to the St Georges Police Children’s Trust for all your support and for anyone who has opted not to, please remember you never know what is round the corner, life can change in an instant and unfortunately your family will not have this much needed support in their time of need.