Juggling childcare and working can be especially tricky during the school holidays and many families ask AFF for signposting to holiday activities in their area. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution – AFF often directs families to look in the following places as most areas offer something.


Spending time looking at local pages can highlight a range of activities to suit your children. Many clubs allow non-members to join them for holiday sessions, these include but are not limited to, sports and hobby clubs including football, crafts, rugby, tennis and gymnastics. Many private schools operate holiday clubs too and are often open to non-students.

Other avenues are local theatre and drama groups, some of these may even be advertised by your local theatre company. Don’t forget to look for organisations which may offer outdoor activities in places such as farms, forests and parks.


Tap into your local leisure centre, many across the UK offer low-cost activity sessions for children during the holidays as well. Information is usually found on their website or on their social media page or pop in, as there are usually posters advertising holiday activities. Remember that holiday clubs usually advertise their sessions far earlier than the holidays begin so once you know you might need some cover it’s worth looking early. One family mentioned that they couldn’t get into a local club as it had filled up for October half term by the end of the summer holidays.


Don’t forget to check your local library notice boards as they may have information on clubs running locally.

Many families report finding out about holiday clubs by asking around in the school playground or asking in the class WhatsApp group. By asking those who have been in the same area for a while you might tap into clubs which fill up exclusively by word of mouth. Many schools use external organisations to operate after-school activities for their children, some of these will also run holiday clubs.

One family currently based in Hampshire said: “We checked with the science club that our son attends after school to see if they offered a holiday option and they did, for full days as well. It was great as they even had the same staff who ran the term-time sessions running the holiday club.”


Each local authority in England should have a ‘family information service’ where you can find information about childminders in your area. Many also have information about holiday clubs. You can find the service for your area by searching for it along with your authority’s name.

Similarly, in Wales, ‘family information services’ hold information about the holiday clubs running in each local authority area. More information can be found at childcareinformation.wales

In Scotland families are advised to check their local council webpages. You can find info at forceschildrenseducation.org.uk

Families in Northern Ireland should contact the NI Children’s Education Support Officer on RC-AWS-N-38X-0mailbox@mod.gov.uk


Is there any financial support for army families with children under school age during the holidays as government funded hours are typically for term-time only?

There is no specific funding for service families who have children under five. Additional childcare support that families may currently be entitled to is outlined on childcarechoices.gov.uk. Do have a look at this website to check you are claiming all you are eligible for.

What childcare funding will I receive if the serving parent is away on exercise or deployment?

There is no additional funding available to service families. We would recommend that families get prepared in advance of deployments. Early engagement is important especially if a deployment includes the Easter and summer breaks and you need to use holiday clubs. You could speak to your unit welfare officer to find out about local childcare options they are aware of. In some areas the Army Welfare Service offers holiday clubs for service children.

I haven’t got enough leave to take all the school holidays off and there aren’t enough clubs to cover the entire period, do I have any other options?

Yes, you could look into taking ‘parental leave’ which is there to give eligible parents unpaid leave to look after their child’s welfare. This could be used to cover school holidays or help them settle into a new school, for example.

Each parent is entitled to a total of 18 weeks of unpaid leave up to the child’s 18th birthday, with a limit of four weeks in any one year. There is more information about this and other working options on aff.org.uk

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