“I felt valued and supported:” Allyson’s story
Allyson and Philip have two children, aged 7 and 12, and have been part of the Wraparound Childcare trials in the RAF, where Philip is a Station commander. Allyson spoke to us about her experience:
“My husband works in the RAF, so I’m a military wife, but I also work 9–5 as a Chief Operating Officer in clinical research so both of us are in full time employment. With two children of 12 and 8, it’s a lot to manage.
Life as a military family is great — it’s exciting to move from place to place when my husband Philip redeploys. But there’s also the dread of the admin it brings — starting from scratch with schools, childcare, dentists, doctors. Getting places for the kids can be hard, especially in places with high demand.
We’ve never had family nearby so I’ve always had to rely on my own initiative. Solutions over the years have ranged from nursery to an au pair to afterschool programmes.
The choice of whether going to work is even worth the wages can be tough.
When I first heard of wraparound childcare I thought it was too good to be true! I’m used to managing this kind of admin on my own without much practical support. So when this came out I thought: wow — this is helping me. They’re talking to me and they get it.
This is not just for military personnel, it’s genuinely designed for military families. I felt valued as a wife and supported. I had no problems in setting it up.
The childcare must be Ofsted approved so I asked our childminder to register. There are maximum limits on what you can claim but I think they’re fair and generous.
It’s enough to cover childcare for 5 days a week, so it really helps with the financial maths around being in full time work. It’s available for anyone who’s eligible, but it really does feel like this is especially supporting women in the Armed Forces family.
It’s great to have something in return, it feels like they’re recognising the sacrifices we’ve made as a military family.”
Read more about family life in the UK Armed Forces:
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