The first of the new Personnel Recovery Centres for injured servicemen and women is to be built at the Merville Barracks in Colchester, Essex. The building costs of the centre will be funded by Help for Heroes and it will be run jointly by The Royal British Legion and the Army.
The 20 residents and 40 day visitors that the centre will accommodate will benefit from a specialised treatment programme aimed at getting them fit enough to return to active service or alternatively preparing them for life outside the Armed Forces.
The centre will also have two family rooms, each catering for two adults and up to three children.
Marianne West, the Help for Heroes Volunteer County Co-ordinator for Essex, said: “I am overjoyed at hearing the announcement that the Personnel Recovery Centre project has at last been given the go-ahead. It will be just marvellous actually to see the proof of the public's generosity taking shape before our eyes in Colchester.”
The new centre will form part of the Army Recovery Capability (ARC) scheme announced last week. Key components of the ARC will be:
- A Personnel Recovery Branch providing assurance, direction and guidance from within the Army’s 3* Personnel and Support Command;
- Personnel Recovery Units one in each of the 10 regional Brigade areas as well as one in London and Germany, to provide support and guidance;
- Individual recovery plans tailored to meet a soldier’s specific recovery needs; and
- Purpose-built Personnel Recovery Centres (like the one in Colchester).
ARC marks a return to the time-honoured practice of treating injured Service personnel in a solely military environment and marks a U-turn in government policy which had up until now been looking to cut costs by merging military and civilian care within shared establishments and on mixed wards. As the MoD admits: "Experience shows that injured personnel find a military environment conducive to the best possible recovery, so we will provide purpose-built Personnel Recovery Centres around the UK".
Other Personnel Recovery Centres are likely to be based in Catterick, Tidworth/Bulford and Edinburgh. The facilities and support provided at the centres will also be open to personnel from the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.
Help For Heroes and the Royal British Legion have each put in £20million to the ARC scheme which will meet the bulk of the costs. Without their funding and their principles such a dedicated military care centre would not have got off the ground.
"There is a long history of charitable organisations contributing to the welfare of serving military personnel, veterans and their families; this relationship will be strengthened further through the introduction of the ARC, for the continued benefit of Armed Forces personnel."
A true ARC of the Covenant then.
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