AN advanced £23m Recovery Centre for wounded, injured and sick serving military personnel, veterans and their families in the South West is due to be opened by the Duke of York.
The Naval Service Recovery Centre (NSRC) is the first in the region and is funded by the charity Help for Heroes and run jointly with the Ministry of Defence.
The opening ceremony is on Thursday (April 10) in HM Naval Base, Devonport, and will be attended by guests including partners in industry, charities and by users.
The centre comprises two buildings Parker VC and Endeavour. Parker VC is a specialist accommodation building and was completed in May 2013, whilst Endeavour is a rehabilitation centre which completed in December 2013.
Bryn Parry OBE, Co-Founder and CEO, Help for Heroes, said: “The Naval Service Recovery Centre will play a vital role in providing long-term support for serving and veteran members of the Armed Services who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses.
"As a former Serviceman himself, His Royal Highness (The Duke of York) is all too aware of the sacrifices that Servicemen and women make on our behalf. Thanks to everyone who has supported Help for Heroes - from donating £2 for a wristband to joining the Hero Ride or giving professional time and experience – we have been able to build these new facilities which will inspire, enable and support our wounded, and their families for the rest of their lives.’’
Parker VC comprises 60 single cabins, six family cabins, social spaces, a large multi-functional space, conference facility and 24-hour reception support. Parker VC name was chosen in memory of a military man awarded the VC.
Endeavour building consists of three buildings and includes a sprung-floor gymnasium, eight medical consultation rooms, a Support Hub for veterans, a multi-functional space containing Café Hero, a hydrotherapy area, changing rooms and a 25 metre, six-lane competition pool. Work began on the project in August 2011 and now complete, Endeavour caters for those living with life-changing injuries, offering them vital support for life.
Endeavour was named because it defines the nature of the effort put into recovery activities. The Royal Navy has a sophisticated and well established process to command, manage and care for wounded, injured and sick personnel and those requiring long term support for medical, welfare, maternity or disciplinary reasons.
The ‘recovery pathway’ is designed to support an individual’s return to effective service employment or to have access to the key services and resources needed to make a smooth transition into civilian life if they are unable to continue to serve in the Armed Forces.
The Recovery Cell in HMS Drake, in the naval base, manages personnel with a realistic and timely expectation of regaining full fitness, but who are unable to be supported by their current unit. The new NSRC offers excellent services allowing personnel in the Recovery Cell to make this transition more effectively.
Hasler Company is a military unit in the naval base, part of the Naval Service Recovery Pathway.
Hasler primarily seeks to care for the most complex, seriously injured and long-term ill Naval Service personnel.
Its aim is to optimise recovery to enable its assigned personnel to achieve their maximum recovery potential so that their continued service can be effectively assessed.
Officer Commanding Hasler Company Major Scotty Mills Royal Marines, said: “The opening of the Endeavour Naval Service Recovery Centre represents a significant opportunity for my 91 complex, seriously injured and long-term ill Hasler Company patients.
“Since its inception five years ago, Hasler Company, a key part of the Naval Service Recovery Pathway, has been well supported both nationally and regionally and this state-of-the-art facility really demonstrates how determined we all are to ensure that we continue to support our wounded, injured and sick.’’
Major Mills said the new centre supported the multi-faceted recovery activity that Hasler Company delivers in conjunction with H4H and other charitable organisations: “It is now up to us to ensure that these facilities are utilised to their full potential and that our wounded sick and injured, both serving and veterans, get to benefit from both the services and capabilities that it offers. We are most grateful to Help for Heroes and those who donate to them for this outstanding centre of excellence.’’
The NSRC provides support for individuals with life-changing injuries or illnesses – and their families – for life. The NSRC forms part of the wider Defence Recovery Capability, a Ministry of Defence initiative, in partnership with Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion.
With guidance from military and civilian specialists, residents develop their own individual recovery plan through activities, including educational programmes, work placements and sport.
All are designed to help them achieve their long-term goals and aspirations by improving personal independence, raising morale and enjoying the camaraderie of fellow Servicemen and veterans to help rebuild their lives.
Sergeant Lee Riley, who will attend the opening, said: ”Since being injured on Operation Herrick 14 in 2011, I have been supported by service charities such as Help For Heroes, Royal Navy Royal Marine Charity, Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.
"Throughout my recovery, the Endeavour Centre here in HMS Drake is a fantastic facility and I will continue to use it even as a veteran as I will be leaving the service this summer. Help For Heroes have made a massive contribution in support of the royal Navy and its new Recovery Centre and its users are very grateful.”
The new Recovery Centre is one of several specialist centres supporting the recovery of Service personnel to ensure they have access to the key services and resources needed to help them either return to duty or make a smooth transition into an appropriately skilled and supported civilian life.