Early Years Fun at The Yard

Families with a disabled child, who missed out on parent and child activities last year due to Covid, are among those to benefit from new early years activities at The Yard Edinburgh.

The Yard provides adventure play services for disabled children, young people and their families.  In addition to its premises in Eyre Place Lane, Edinburgh, The Yard also supports families in Kirkcaldy and Dundee. All three services have re-opened and are welcoming new members.

During the October school holiday (w/c Monday 18 October 2021), The Yard Edinburgh will offer early years sessions (0-5 years) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 10-11.30am.  Then, from Friday 29 October through to Friday 17 December 2021, sessions will run each Friday, again from 10-11.30am.  In a typical session, babies and children can enjoy activity-based play from singing and sensory games to playdough and climbing frames.

Jocelyn Swift-Adams, one of the children to benefit from early years sessions at The Yard.

Helen Bonnar, Play Team Leader – Early Years said, “Our early year sessions are here to support our youngest families, many of whom might struggle to attend mainstream activities. For many, this will be the family’s first step as they start their pathway to a diagnosis and, for others, this might be the first time they’ve been able to bring their child to a parent and baby session, especially with so many affected by lockdown.   We’re here to welcome and support them on their journey, providing a friendly and ‘free play’ environment where their child can relax and have fun while their parents meet others in a similar situation.”

One of the families to benefit from The Yard’s early years sessions is Jocelyn Swift-Adams (4) and her parents Jamie and Tammy, who live in Dunbar.

The family first attended The Yard when Jocelyn was just a few months old. Having heard about The Yard through a Down Syndrome Scotland meeting, Jamie said, “Before she could even crawl, Jocelyn responded so well to the early years sessions. They’re a fantastic way for families to meet at the start of their similar journeys, and to relax in a way that can be challenging in mainstream environments.

“As well as seeing Jocelyn enjoy all the sensory and tactile activities, we’ve also seen so many benefits when it comes to speech and language, an added benefit for us all.  The atmosphere is so positive and you always feel safe and relaxed. It’s also brilliant to know that The Yard is here to support children and their siblings right through to young adulthood. We very much hope to be involved with The Yard for many years to come.”

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The Yard is an award-winning charity, running adventure play services for disabled children, young people and their families in the east of Scotland. 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. The flagship Edinburgh centre was refurbished by DIY SOS The Big Build in 2012. The Yard Dundee opened in 2015, followed by The Yard Fife in 2016.

The Yard was awarded the Nancy Ovens Positive Support for Play Award 2016 and the Herald Society Award for Improving Young People’s Lives in 2019. Celine Sinclair, Chief Executive of The Yard, was awarded Leading Light at Scottish Charity Awards 2017, Director of the Year at Edinburgh Chamber Business Awards 2018 and Director of the Year – Small Business at IoD Scotland Director of the Year Awards 2018.