Armed Forces Families Fund supports 84 projects in latest round of awards

March 22, 2023

Armed Forces Families Fund latest awards

We’re excited to announce a series of grants awards made under the Armed Forces Families Fund across three grant programmes supporting Forces families across the UK.

  • The Education Support Fund has awarded £2 million to 54 fantastic projects supporting Service children and improving educational pathways available to them.
  • The Early Years programme has awarded £900,000 to projects that support Service children aged 0-5 years.
  • The Supporting Partners programme has supported 12 projects worth £500,000 to make a positive improvement to the needs and challenges they face.
What is the Armed Forces Families Fund?

In January 2022, the MOD published the Armed Forces Families Strategy 2022-2032, its 10-year strategy for improving support to Armed Forces families.

Following the launch of the strategy, the MOD created the Armed Forces Families Fund, a dedicated fund to deliver against the eight themes of the strategy: Family Life, Service Life, Family Home, Education, Health and Wellbeing, Childcare, Support to Partners and Spouses, and Non-UK families.

The Education Support Fund

Each of the projects awarded under this programme will deliver real change to Armed Forces communities by improving the educational pathway of Service children and helping to address the challenges they can face.

Stanchester Academy’s project, Safe Space and Support, willprovide a bespoke, supervised safe space for Service children. It will also be used as a meeting place, homework room and dining area, as well as a location for an additional Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) to provide one-to-one tutoring.

The project was designed following consultation with parents and pupils who ranked a safe space and Emotional Literacy Support, alongside one- to-one tutoring as being the most impactful where Service families are concerned.

Teacher Rebecca Hendry, was delighted to be awarded the funds: “We have a high number of pupils that transfer to our secondary school in later years or mid-way through the year. Many of our students experience having a parent deployed or based elsewhere and away during the week. By funding a specialist ELSA staff member and offering them extra tuition combined with a safe space, we can ensure that they have all the support needed to help them.”

Supporting Service children’s wellbeing

Peter Davis, Head of the Armed Forces Families Team, said: “We are really pleased with the breadth of work funded in this round of the Education Support Fund. Service pupils’ needs and the challenges they face have been properly considered in each of the 54 projects that will take place across the UK. From tackling the negative effects of separation, to allowing Service children the best chance of building resilience and developing their academic skills against a backdrop of mobility; these projects will make a positive difference to the wellbeing of Service children in many valuable ways and will contribute significantly to the implementation of the MOD’s Armed Forces Families Strategy.”

The Early Years programme

With a focus on Service children aged 0-5 years, the 18 supported projects will help enhance Early Years learning environments to meet the specific needs of children from Forces families. 

Many of the projects focused on expanding outdoor learning and play, to improve wellbeing. This ranged from installing outdoor learning areas or refurbishing existing ones, to enhancing garden areas and wet weather shelters.

Other projects focused on meeting additional needs of Service children and upskilling staff to properly support them.

In Scotland, Drumfork Nursery and Family Centre received £33,060 to focus on meeting Service children’s additional support needs, such as speech and language delays, attachment issues and developmental delays. The project will provide Service children and families with high-quality support for additional support needs, to reduce the attainment gap between Service and non-Service children.

Supporting Partners

12 grants were awarded under the Supporting Partners: Innovation programme, with funding focused on piloting practical new solutions to support partners of serving personnel, including Reservists, to reduce the challenges of Service life by meeting one of three aims.

  • Encourage new ways of enabling peer to peer support.
  • Enable better access to employment, education & training, or wider support.
  • Reduce duplication and make it easier for partners to access knowledge and information that’s relevant to their lives.

Almost half of the funded projects had a UK-wide focus, and projects ranged from digital resources, including an app to support employment, education and training; to practical and emotional support offered to bring partners together to manage the challenges of Service family life.

Understanding employment experiences

The University of Chester’s project, ‘Employment Experiences of Serving Partners’, will help to raise awareness in both the private and public sector of instances of disadvantage caused by Service to partners, whilst also helping to identity possible gaps and ensure easy access to support to partners and spouses.

The project has been informed by co-production with military partners and will seek to understand the employment experiences of both accompanied and unaccompanied partners of regular serving personnel. It will explore the barriers and potential solutions to improve employment opportunities for serving partners and provide an example resource which will be widely accessible.

Dr Alan Finnegan, the Co-Director of the Westminster Centre for Research in Ageing, Mental Health, and Veterans stated: “Gaining employment is often difficult for serving partners due to frequent moves and postings to isolated locations. A lack of childcare when living away from their established support networks purpurates the problem, whilst fearing that potential employers may discriminate due to their highly mobile status.”

Further Funding available from April 2023

The Armed Forces Families Fund will reopen for applications from April 2023.

The Service Pupil Support Programme (formerly the Education Support Fund) will open in early April. This programme will award grants to projects that meet one of the three key aims.

  • Addressing the needs of SEND pupils through early identification and intervention using a collaborative and coordinated approach.
  • Closing the gap in attainment between Service and non-Service pupils, using data led evidence.
  • Identifying and addressing the needs of small cohorts of Service pupils within educational settings.

Further rounds of the Early Years and Supporting Partners programmes will open in Summer 2023; along with a specialist programme that will award a small number of strategic grants linked to themes within the wider Armed Forces Families strategy.

Find out more

You can find full details of all awards made under the three Armed Forces Families Fund programmes, on our dedicated programme page. Check back for updates on programme launches in due course and sign up for our Armed Forces Families newsletter to get the latest news straight to your inbox.