Disabled Fife Girl’s Campaign Vying for National Award

A disabled girl’s campaign that secured £2 million of funding to improve support for disabled kids in Scotland has been nominated for a national award.

Eilish Cowan (5) and her dad Lawrence (39) from Dunfermline launched the Our Kids Won’t Wait Campaign alongside disabled children’s charity The Yard back in September 2023, with a call for the Scottish Government to reverse a 76% real terms cut to the amount of funding the charity received per family supported.

They successfully convinced politicians, including the then First Minister, Humza Yousaf, to back the move and invest further in growing The Yard’s reach. The investment means in particular that the charity can improve its service in Tayside and open up a new centre in the West of Scotland.

Lawrence Eilish oct 23

Eilish and dad Lawrence Cowan. Credit – Lesley Martin.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) Charity Awards are the charity’s version of the Oscars. Eilish, who has a rare genetic condition affecting her TUBA1A gene, struggles to walk and has a learning disability, is nominated in the Campaign of the Year category. The family are calling for people to get behind the campaign and vote for them to win at Our Kids Won’t Wait – The Yard – Scottish Charity Awards – SCVO

Eilish’s dad Lawrence Cowan, said, “We’re so proud of our wee girl. We hope that this nomination is something she can look back on and feel proud about.

“Eilish’s genetic condition means she struggles with things we all take for granted like walking or talking and she has a learning disability. But just like any other wee girl she deserves love and a place to feel like she belongs.

“The Yard provides a place for disabled children like Eilish to have fun, make friends and be proud of who they are. We need to expand the great work of The Yard right across Scotland so we were delighted when the First Minister visited and announced the extra funding.

“To be able to say that Eilish contributed to growing the Yard’s work and opening up more opportunities for disabled children to be celebrated makes my wife and I so emotional and proud.

“But to win we need your votes! So please get behind Eilish’s campaign.”

Eilish added, “I’m proud. I love The Yard. Vote for me!”

Lawrence and famililes

Families with Celine Sinclair and Claire Baker MSP during last year’s campaign. Credit – Lesley Martin.

Celine Sinclair, CEO of The Yard said, “Thanks to this campaign we are now in a position to grow the work of the Yard. The funding from the Scottish Government will mean that we can make real improvements to our service in Tayside and open a new service in the West of Scotland. A huge thank you to Lawrence, Eilish and all of our families who rallied behind the campaign. It makes a huge difference.”

The Yard works with children and young people with additional support needs through adventure play sessions in Dundee, Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy. The service offers creative and inclusive play experiences in a well-supported environment, alongside wraparound support for the whole family, with a varied programme of drop-in, respite and transition youth clubs, early years, specialist sessions with schools, family play sessions, plus inclusive play and disability training.