The United Nations World Children’s Day is celebrated on 20 November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.
We know the importance of listening to children and young people with a parent in the Armed Forces. During 2021 ABF The Soldiers’ Charity have been working with the Army Welfare Service to inject some fun, play and cultural activities into school holidays. Our joint project includes residential stays around the UK, as well as community-based activities like sports, art and music.
In addition to all the fun for the children, providing accessible childcare, including out of school holiday provision, is essential for Army families. Together with the Army Welfare Service, we secured LIBOR funding for our joined project – ‘Out of School Adventures‘, which provided 60 locations across the British Army with the ability to deliver 14 days of holiday activities to children, young people and families.
Whilst the programme was initially set to commence last summer, the planning was negatively impacted by the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Army Welfare Service Community Support team found themselves working from home, developing virtual delivery programmes and remote activities to continue providing support for children, young people and families during a difficult time.
Thankfully, following a lift of restrictions in May 2021, activity centers could finally set out plans for the coming summer, organising an array of activities. These included outdoor activities, sports, trips, art projects and even a performing arts workshop. Over 400 children and young people with a parent serving in the British Army experienced a residential activity and enjoyed a range of outdoor adventurous activities during their summer holiday 2021, with an additional 200 places becoming available for October half term, funded by our charity.
Parents expressed how their children had a positive and enjoyable experience, building friendships and improving their confidence whilst developing important skills. Most importantly, the programme received positive feedback from children and young people who took part, with the majority looking forward to their next holiday activity.
We are proud to be listening to children and young people with a parent in the Armed Forces, allowing us to step in with support when it is needed most and work on improving the life of Army families.