‘Devastating’ Attack on Disabled Children’s Charity

An Edinburgh disabled children’s charity has suffered a devastating attack just days after celebrating its 35th anniversary.

In the early hours of Tuesday 7 December 2021, a fire was deliberately started within the garden of The Yard at Eyre Place Lane, damaging the grounds and outdoors electric systems.

The Boardwalk, one of the well-loved areas in The Yard, has been destroyed and will need to be replaced. The Boardwalk is a fully accessible part of The Yard’s outdoor play area, which was refurbished as part of the BBC programme DIY SOS in 2012 and has been cared for yearly by volunteers and staff.

The Yard fire

Extensive damage caused to the Boardwalk.

The door to the Solar Dome, which is a fantastic space during inclement weather, was also damaged during the incident. The Solar Dome is a haven for various play and sensory experiences and a particularly important resource at this time of year.

With repair costs estimated to be in the region of £40,000, the necessary maintenance is unlikely to be completed before Spring 2022.

Having opened in 1986, The Yard supports disabled children, young people and their families through child-centred and child-led adventure play. Welcoming children from birth to the age of 25, The Yard also supports countless families through its centres in Dundee and Kirkcaldy.   Crucially, The Yard exists for the whole family, with parents, carers and siblings also welcome to attend play sessions, generating endless benefits for the wider family.

Only last week, Nick Knowles, who fronted the ‘DIY SoS’ transformation of The Yard in Edinburgh in 2012 described the service as “a little miracle tucked away between the streets in Edinburgh.”

He continued, “It is a lifesaver for mums and dads with children dealing with disabilities, life-limiting illnesses or conditions that make play and learning in other environments difficult.  What’s wonderful is they can play with their brothers and sisters in a safe nurturing environment. You won’t believe the relief and respite mums and dads can get whilst their children play for and just an hour or so. A chance to talk to other parents, get advice or just have a little cry and a hug.”

Celine Sinclair

Celine Sinclair, CEO, The Yard.

Celine Sinclair, CEO, added, “While we were celebrating our 35 years and planning our Christmas celebrations, we didn’t know we had yet another challenge coming our way this year.

“We are absolutely devastated at this malicious attack and currently doing our best to have the affected areas repaired, which will be a costly process. Luckily, no-one was harmed and damage was contained but the impact on our users, the children and families we support, is significant and will affect the experience and quality of play which we offer for several months to come.   Most of the families we support have no other options when it comes to play and rely on our facilities to relax, unwind and be themselves.

“It’s ironic and deeply saddening that this attack came as we celebrated our 35th anniversary and were preparing for our Christmas walk-throughs in the garden.  The last two years have highlighted our resilience as a charity so, despite this heart-breaking news, we are confident that we’ll come out to the other side stronger, as we always have.”

The Yard is currently in talks with its insurers with hopes that the bulk of the damage will be covered.  However, a JustGiving page has been set up for those wishing to help cover the associated costs of this appalling incident. To donate, please visit