TV presenter and former Metropolitan Police Officer Rav Wilding has been speaking about the ‘best in the business’ care and treatment he received at Flint House Police Rehabilitation Centre.
Rav was a young in service officer when he injured his hand. It was serious enough to force him away from his duties, and that’s when a stint at Flint House in Oxfordshire was suggested by his Sergeant at the time.
Rav had signed up for the monthly donations to the charity – which made him eligible to access its services – since becoming an officer.
He credits Flint House with saving his policing career.
“I remember colleagues saying if you pay into Flint House for your entire career and use it once, you will get more back out of that one time than all the contributions you make to it.
“I wasn’t at work when I was injured; I was messing around and broke my hand in a gym. I didn’t think Flint House would even apply to me because I wasn’t at work, but my Sergeant said that it did and I should go because they needed me back at work.
“She did all the paperwork and got me a place. I still didn’t really know much about it; I just knew there were some good physios up there.
“I was a bit nervous, and I suddenly met all these other people that were there for the first time; we soon became friends, and I remember sitting down and meeting people at dinner and introducing ourselves.
“We’d all come from different police forces all around the country, and it was really exciting.”
Meeting new colleagues and seeing the range of physical and mental health issues the Flint House team could help with was just one of the memorable aspects of his stay, says Rav. That and the mini-croquet league he set up.
“There were lots of other people there, and it wasn’t just physical injuries, people there had stressful things such as PTSD, there was all number of reasons why they were at Flint House,” he said.
“You got to meet a whole variety of people from all different ranks and different experiences. I was there to get better and to get back into the job and back to fitness.
“Every day I was having physio sessions and trying to get the strength up on my hand, trying to get my muscle strength up, they were giving me all these various exercises, and some of it was quite uncomfortable, some of it was painful, but they really knew what they were doing.
“One of the things I loved was looking forward to the food after every session.
“I also remember picking up a team of people for croquet – we had a little croquet league!”
Hearing about why other people were there helped everyone form a real bond, Rav added, and it highlighted the breadth of support the centre can provide.
“One of the people who I befriended said why he was there… the stress was so much he had to take a lot of time off work, and it really affected him. Flint House was somewhere that was there for him because of the toll it took on him.
“The centre is there for the physical injuries but for the ones you can’t see as well.
“It’s definitely worth going. It is top-notch the way they look after you there. You can tell the physios are the best in the business. You can tell the chefs are the best in the business. You can tell everyone is on top of their game. You are going to get the best possible care.”
Rav – who has presented Crimewatch and currently features on BBC Morning Live – said his fledgling Metropolitan Police career would have ended had it not been for the care he received at Flint House.
“Basically, I’d broken a couple of bones in my hand, and I couldn’t grip the baton,” he said.
“One of the tests we had to do was the grip strength test. It’s one of the pass/fail tests. I couldn’t do it. At the start of my stay at Flint House, I couldn’t pass it, and before I left Flint House, at the end, I could.
“Without question, it kept me in the job because if I couldn’t pass that test, I wasn’t able to stay in.
“I know money doesn’t stretch very far at the moment, so I hope officers know their contributions are really worth it. I know first hand they are.”