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Last Updated: Monday, 1 October 2007, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Army recruits in 'appalling' digs
Catterick Garrison
Catterick Garrison is home to 1,900 recruits
Some of the accommodation at Britain's largest infantry training centre is "appalling" and is in need of urgent improvement, a report has said.

The Independent Advisory Panel said facilities at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire were generally "world class" but some work was still needed.

And the panel said poor housing had an "adverse effect" on recruits.

But it found complaints by recruits at Catterick were handled "seriously, sensitively and thoroughly".

The panel scrutinised every aspect of life at Catterick's Infantry Training Centre.

'Unsatisfactory'

The report's author and panel chairman, Alasdair MacConachie, said new accommodation blocks at Catterick were "excellent" and refurbished buildings "satisfactory".

But he said: "The old accommodation is appalling and needs at least refurbishing if not renewing as a matter of urgency.

"This accommodation is some of the worst I have seen and has an adverse effect on recruits and indeed staff.

The turnaround in every soldier's attitude to life was of a very high standard
Alasdair MacConachie
Independent Advisory Panel

"It is vital that funds are found to alter this unsatisfactory situation as a matter of urgency."

Mr MacConachie also investigated the complaints procedure open to recruits at the centre.

"The evidence has been of all complaints being handled seriously, sensitively and thoroughly," he said.

The panel's 36-page report was delivered to Brigadier David Clements, Commandant of the School of Infantry.

Speaking at Vimy Barracks, the brigadier said he was "convinced" that "the right procedures" were in place to safeguard recruits' welfare.

"One of those procedures includes the Independent Advisory Panel looking over our shoulder to make sure we do take bullying and other welfare issues seriously," he added.

Mr MacConachie said that after a 24-week training period the "general standards" of recruits was "very high", including those who had come from difficult backgrounds.

"The turnaround in every soldier's attitude to life was of a very high standard," he said.

"Soldiers generally speaking were far more focused on wanting to learn and better themselves."

SEE ALSO
Plush new digs for army recruits
19 Sep 07 |  North Yorkshire
MPs condemn 'appalling' barracks
14 Sep 07 |  UK Politics
Your pictures: Housing for troops
14 Sep 07 |  In Pictures
Q&A: Military housing
04 Jan 07 |  UK

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