Army builds new recovery centre for injured soldiers

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Army started building work on a new residential recovery centre to help injured soldiers today, Friday 11 February 2011.

Construction of the new Personnel Recovery Centre in Colchester marks a significant milestone in a programme launched exactly a year ago today to give wounded, injured and sick soldiers additional care and support to help them successfully return to duties or transition into civilian life.

The Army Recovery Capability (ARC) takes soldiers and other members of the Armed Forces from the point of injury or illness through to their return to duty or into a supported civilian life and is being delivered in partnership with Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion, as well as other Service charities and Government Departments.

The Personnel Recovery Centre at Colchester Garrison will be the first purpose-built facility of its kind and will provide residential accommodation for 29 soldiers and 31 day attendees. The building’s capital costs have been funded by Help for Heroes, while the Royal British Legion will meet the centre’s running costs. Construction is expected to be completed by early 2012.

Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Andrew Robathan, said:

Soldiers that are injured in service to our country deserve the very best. I believe that by joining forces with the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes we have delivered just that.

Experience shows that injured soldiers recover better if they are placed in a military environment. By basing the centre in Colchester, troops will be able to access the garrison’s full range of facilities, including welfare, medical rehabilitation and education.

Chris Simpkins, Director General of the Royal British Legion, said:

The Legion stands shoulder-to-shoulder with all who serve. So our commitment to their recovery is a key part of our lifetime support for the brave servicemen and women who put themselves in harm’s way for the nation.

We are delighted to be funding the operating costs of the Personnel Recovery Centres, including this centre at Colchester, as well as the establishment and running of the Royal British Legion Battle Back Centre. This is the largest single project we’ve ever undertaken, but helping heroes get their lives back on track is what the Legion has done for 90 years - and will continue to do.

Bryn Parry, founder of Help For Heroes, said:

I am delighted that we have seen work begin on the Colchester ARC and greatly appreciate the work of all those who have made this happen. I look forward to seeing the building completed as soon as possible and for it to start providing much needed support to those who are injured in service to the country.

The Army Recovery Capability is made up of four key components.

Personnel Recovery Branch

The Personnel Recovery Branch, as the Army’s experts in this field, co-ordinates the recovery process and provides functional control of all elements of the Army Recovery Capability to ensure that wounded, injured and long term sick personnel have the access to key services and resources they need to help them return to duty or make a smooth transition into an appropriately skilled civilian life.

It keeps track of all those who enter the recovery process - to the point of discharge and beyond - and develops employment opportunities for those leaving the Army.

Personnel Recovery Units

A co-ordinated network of 11 Personnel Recovery Units provides support and guidance to personnel on a recovery pathway. These units are dispersed throughout the UK, with each region led by a commanding officer, who in turn is guided by the Personnel Recovery Branch.

The capability provides welfare staff and links to training and educational organisations, charities and other Government Departments, ensuring that a holistic and fully joined-up service is provided.

Every person on a recovery pathway has a tailored Individual Recovery Plan, which is developed, co-ordinated and managed by a Personnel Recovery Unit. This ensures individuals are able to access the particular support they need at each stage of their recovery.

Personnel Recovery Centres (PRCs) and Personnel Recovery and Assessment Centres (PRACs)

Experience shows that personnel find a military environment conducive to the best possible recovery, so we will provide purpose-built Personnel Recovery Centres around the UK.

These centres, built by Help for Heroes and run jointly by the Royal British Legion and the Army, will provide a residential base for those who need it. Each centre will be located inside or close to Army sites, enabling access to Army facilities and support from the Army, including existing medical, educational and other garrison facilities.

The first PRC is operating in Edinburgh. Three more will be built, starting with the PRC in Colchester. Colchester Garrison is one of the largest garrisons in the country, with more than 5,000 troops, and is the home of 16 Air Assault Brigade.

The other two centres will be Personnel Recovery and Assessment Centres and will be based at Tidworth and Catterick. They are due to be completed in 2012, with an interim capability at both locations from the summer of 2011.

Tedworth House, the first of the Personnel Recovery and Assessment Centres, will be leased to Help for Heroes, who have committed £17m to the development and refurbishment of the building. Tedworth House will have an interim operational capability from the summer of 2011.

A residential facility in Germany is also being scoped, and it is hoped that it will also be ready by the summer of 2011.

The Royal British Legion Battle Back Centre

The Royal British Legion Battle Back Centre will encourage regular participation in sport and outdoor activities to help recovery and will be funded by the Royal British Legion and established by September 2011.

The MOD is fully committed to providing support to all our wounded, injured and sick personnel and has committed £35m over the next four years. In addition, Help for Heroes has committed a total of £70m in support of recovery. This includes not only the capital investment to fund the initial building costs of both the PRC in Colchester and the PRAC in Catterick, but also the redevelopment of Tedworth House.

They are also providing an additional £15m over four years in support of Individual Recovery Plans and a further £6m for a Quick Reaction Fund, managed by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, to provide individual benevolence across the Army to those injured in training or wounded in action since 9/11.

The Royal British Legion has committed £50m over ten years. This represents the largest single contribution in its 90-year history. This commitment will be used to fund the Battle Back Centre, with the remainder funding running costs of the PRCs in Colchester, Catterick and Edinburgh and contributing signficantly to the running of the Tedworth House PRAC, which will be run for the Army by Help for Heroes.

Finally, the Royal British Legion has also funded the personnel recovery facility in Germany in its totality at an additional cost of £500,000.