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Welfare

Gurkha recruits are away from their home, family and friends, and they’re likely to need support in the early stages of their Army life. There are many people on hand to provide this at ITC Catterick.

Many recruits get homesick – but it usually doesn’t last for long, because they are kept so busy. Also, they can phone family and friends in the evenings, and there are also times when family and friends can come to visit. 

Fellow recruits can also be a big source of support. Talking through problems can often provide all the help that’s needed. But if the problem isn’t something that can be dealt with that way, the following can help:

  • Platoon training staff and Company or Battalion personnel
  • Women’s Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS)
  • Pandit, Acharya, Padre
  • Pandit – Hindu religious teacher
  • Acharya – Buddhist religious teacher
  • In an emergency

There’s more about each of these below.

Platoon training staff and Company or Battalion personnel

Platoon staff are the first points of contact for a recruits with a problem.

They’re encouraged not to feel shy or afraid about going to them, because it is not seen as weakness. The staff would far rather know about a problem, however small it may seem, rather than see it affect a recruit's performance.

The staff are experienced in dealing with the many issues that might arise and there won’t be much that they haven’t heard before.

WRVS

In the absence of a parent or guardian, WRVS members can be a good substitute. They are non-military, completely independent of the Army, and trained in giving advice and support to recruits.

Pandit, Acharya, Padre

Pandit, Acharya and Padres are the Army’s religious representatives. Whatever a recruit's belief – even if they don't have any – they can talk to these people about any problem.

Pandit – Hindu religious teacher

A Gurkha Mandir (Temple) exists at ITC Catterick.

Every religious activity, including daily puja (prayer), festive ceremonies and a weekly Sunday service is conducted in the Mandir.

The Pandit has extensive experience in all areas of life, and welcomes anyone who wishes to talk about any difficulty they have which they don’t feel able to discuss with their chain of command. He is happy to help using religious methods, spiritual advice or simply to chat in a friendly and non-military manner – all in confidence.

Acharya – Buddhist religious teacher

Acharya Chewang Gurung is the Buddhist spiritual teacher in the Brigade of Gurkhas.

He is responsible for providing spiritual care to service personnel, for counselling them to improve and maintain their morale, and for helping them fulfil the core values of the British Army.

The Acharya also helps with personal issues, protecting recruits’ beliefs and ensuring that there is no actual or perceived discrimination. He is also available for Gurkha families and relatives in the wider community across the UK and the wider Brigade of Gurkhas, providing ritual ceremonies as required.

In an emergency

Compassionate leave may be allowed if a family member falls ill or there is an emergency.

In an emergency, SUTs should explain the matter to a member of training staff as soon as possible.