Clowndoctors Raise a Smile for Local Families

Two Scottish children’s charities are working in partnership to bring smiles to local children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Yard is working with Hearts & Minds to host video calls with the Clowndoctors, offering support through fun and laughter for children with additional support needs and their families, who cannot currently attend group sessions in person.

The Yard usually runs school sessions, drop-in family play sessions and youth clubs for disabled children and young people in Edinburgh, Fife and Dundee.


Tia Timoney from Edinburgh, having a blast with the Clowndoctors!


One of the young people to benefit from the activities is Tia Timoney (16) who has been a member of The Yard’s Thursday teen club in Edinburgh for almost a year. Prior to that, she was a regular user of the Wed 10-14s club too.

Tia Timoney and her mum Angela

Mum Angela said, “During lockdown it has been difficult to find variety – most of our online activities were with other members of our family. It was so nice to have something just for Tia. She looked forward to it. Tia most enjoyed having her own chat show! She thinks the Clowndoctors are funny and make her laugh and cheer her up. She says “they are fabulous darling!” There’s just the two of us so I felt someone else was sharing and helping.”

Dan Fraser, Digital Services Lead at The Yard added, “We are absolutely delighted to be working with Hearts & Minds and the Clowndoctors again. They are helping to bring smiles, laughter and joy to our children and families during these difficult times. This is a valuable third sector partnership for The Yard, which we have extended until the end of October, as it is supporting so many disabled children and their families across Edinburgh.”

Rebecca Simpson Chief Executive Officer of Hearts & Minds said, “Hearts & Minds is delighted to be working with The Yard again. Together we are bringing the magic of the Clowndoctor visits into the homes of children and families, providing opportunities for play, fun and positive interaction. Although our visits are virtual, The Yard and Hearts & Minds are working hard to place human connection at the heart of the visits, and to make them as personalised as possible for the children taking part.

“It is not possible for many children and families to visit The Yard in person at the moment, therefore we are extremely happy to support this service and play our part in enabling people to still feel connected and supported. The feedback on the visits so far has been overwhelming, and we look forward to working with more children and families over the next few weeks.”

The Yard is a Scottish charity running adventure play services for disabled children, young people and their families. It offers creative, adventurous indoor and outdoor play experiences in a well-supported environment. It provides care, support, and opportunities for fun and friendship. Besides informal respite, meeting other parents who face similar challenges lets them build a network of support and understanding that helps ease the difficulties they face.

Hearts & Minds is a Scottish charity that helps vulnerable people overcome feelings of powerlessness, anxiety and isolation through the art of therapeutic clowning. Their Clowndoctors support children and young people to cope with life in a hospital, hospice or respite care setting, and in schools for learners with complex additional support needs.

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