Colchester Gets Army Recovery Centre

11 February 2011, 16:24 | Updated: 21 February 2011, 15:53

Construction's started in Essex on a centre to treat wounded soldiers and give them support to return to work or civilian life.

The Personnel Recovery Centre (PRC) in Colchester Garrison will be the first purpose-built facility of its kind in England.

It's one of four centres, costing £57.5 million, being constructed by the army with money raised by Help for Heroes.

The centres' running costs will be covered by the British Legion and the taxpayer.

Military commanders hope that the centres will provide a "springboard" to new careers for injured veterans.

Wounded soldiers would get expert help on finding new jobs - as well as ongoing medical care.

Minister for Defence, Personnel, Welfare and Veteran 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."

Ministers hope that the centres - in Colchester, Tidworth, Catterick, and near Plymouth, - will be fully operational before the end of 2012 and will help veterans rebuild their lives. A similar centre has been running in Edinburgh since 2009.

Infantryman Dan Wildman, 21, said he had stayed at the centre in Edinburgh after suffering shrapnel wounds, which left him with two broken arms and a broken leg, in Afghanistan.

"Initially, after leaving hospital, I was sent home and was just going downhill."

"But it was much better at Edinburgh. I was with other soldiers and there were people there who helped me think about other careers. They started making me think what I could do not what I couldn't do.

"I think soldiers will welcome these centres. They're a good idea.''