More than 5,500 children of military personnel are now enrolled in the Wraparound Childcare (WAC) scheme, which gives service families funded childcare worth around £3,400.
The scheme was rolled out across the UK at the start of the autumn term and provides up to 20 hours per week of funded childcare for eligible military parents with children aged 4 to 11 years.
It follows successful trials at pilot sites around the country over the last two years. With more than 5,500 children enrolled in just three months, the Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families is now urging more military personnel to take up the offer – with 20,000 children across the UK eligible.
Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Dr Andrew Murrison said:
Our Armed Forces personnel and families continue to make great sacrifices to serve their country, and that is why earlier this year we rolled out wraparound childcare to support both their careers and family life.
This important step underlines our appreciation of the challenges that serving in the Armed Forces can place on families, and we must continue to support them in any way possible.
Royal Air Force Corporal Vicki Taylor said:
Everyone I have spoken to who also benefits from wraparound childcare agrees that it’s a fantastic scheme. For my family it saved us financially, reduced our stress levels, and has given us more quality time with our children.
The introduction of this scheme is recognition of the unique challenges faced by serving personnel and their families. Among these, the requirement to frequently move home means that sourcing childcare can be even more difficult for service families, particularly for dual-serving families, where both parents are members of the Armed Forces. This scheme provides direct support to these families and is part of the wider package to reward service personnel and their families, as laid out in the Armed Forces Families Strategy.
The scheme has shown signs of being a great success and there has already been a positive impact on the service families involved. Feedback shows an improvement in family wellbeing, increased contentment with service life for non-serving partners as well as the huge financial savings.
Alongside WAC the Ministry of Defence is committed to supporting service families and has also introduced flexible working arrangements, expanded offerings to co-habiting couples and extended Help to Buy, giving our armed forces the chance to get a foot on the housing ladder.