Improved learning and support for our youngest Service children

December 12, 2023

We’re delighted to announce 10 projects worth over £354,000 have been supported under the latest round of the Armed Forces Families Fund: Early Years programme.

These projects will enhance early childhood education and childcare settings of young children from Armed Forces families.

The Armed Forces Families Fund supports projects that meet the aims of the Armed Forces Families Strategy. The Armed Forces Families Fund (AF3) was launched in September 2022 and amalgamated existing education-focused funds, under one umbrella. It broadened their scope in support of the delivery of the AF Families Strategy in its entirety.

The MOD partnered with the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to administer the Armed Forces Families Fund: Early Years programme. This is part of the AF3 Fund, together with the Service Pupil Support programme; Supporting Partners programme and the Research Grants programme.

Service family centric provision

Projects funded under this programme will help Service families and children to access good quality, early childhood education and childcare provision. This includes through improved outdoor facilities, increased capacity, and training aimed at providing a better understanding of the unique needs of Service families through holistic, Service family centric provision and resources.

The projects we have funded include a mix of outdoor learning, support for SEND children, and training for staff.

Chestnut House Day Nursery received £7,920 for their project, ‘Forest Schools’. The project will promote the holistic development of Service children through staff training. It will improve outdoor provision and facilitate the delivery of first-class outdoor activities. 

YMCA Brunel Group were awarded £80,000 for their ‘YMCA Little Ducklings Military Project’ which will provide high quality training for staff around a range of subjects to facilitate holistic, Service family provision and understanding.

Catterick Garrison Preschools project, ‘Early Years Joyful and Engaging’, will build a curriculum that covers all ages in the provision; support the needs of SEND children with a sensory room, whilst also creating a new area for 3–4-year-old children, enabling increased capacity to meet the growing demand of Service families. 

Find out more and apply

Discover more about the projects we have supported in this round, by visiting our dedicated programme page.

Feeling inspired? The second round of the Early Years programme is still accepting applications. There are slightly different priorities for this second round, which closes on 12 January 2024.

If you’re planning to apply, your project will need to meet one of the following themes.

  1. Accessibility/availability of childcare for Service children.
  2. Training for childcare setting staff or childminders, including SEND or SENCO resources.

If your childcare setting is based on a defence estate, you can also apply under a third theme. Creating or improving outdoor learning environments.

Full details are available on our programme page.