Edinburgh Dad to Walk Over 140,000 Yards for The Yard
An Edinburgh Dad is preparing to walk over 80 miles to raise funds for the ‘life-changing’ charity that supports his autistic daughter.
Fraser Gow will walk all four Mighty Strides at this year’s Kiltwalks, a total of 81.5 miles. By doing so, he will raise money for The Yard which works with children and young people with additional support needs through adventure play sessions in Edinburgh, Dundee 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.
Fraser’s daughter Quinne (11) has been attending The Yard weekly and during holidays since she was six years old.
Fraser said, “Quinne’s autism can manifest itself through her behaviour which makes most mainstream play settings challenging if not out of the question. If we go to a park, there’s a risk she’ll run away and, because she has little concept of safety, can get hurt by running into a swing or a roundabout. She can also struggle to play alongside other children.
“During our first visit to The Yard five years ago, she had a meltdown when we arrived which was not itself unusual. However, we soon realised this was a different environment altogether. For once, no one batted an eyelid, judged her or stared. They accept Quinne for who she is and have strategies to calm situations and let children be themselves, and enjoy themselves. It’s all about play, letting off steam and having fun, and both Quinne and I have friends there. Whether she’s playing in the mud, foam or water or sitting under a table drawing, the staff are amazing, warm, welcoming and supportive.
“Outside of school, The Yard is the most important part of Quinne’s life, and its impact on us, as a family, has been transformational. It can be pretty isolating having a child with additional needs and you can feel excluded from so many activities but The Yard welcomes you in and provides a safe place for the whole family, where we can all just relax, belong and have fun together. We build our week around it and come along whenever we can. When I decided to do the Kiltwalks, The Yard was the obvious choice for my charity. For just a few pounds per month, it’s a vital and affordable lifeline for us and so many other families. More than ever, it’s essential that the charity can continue its amazing work across Scotland and keep providing the support families like ours desperately need.”
Starting in Glasgow on 30 April, the Kiltwalk will continue in Aberdeen on 4 June, from St Andrews to Dundee on 30 August, ending with the fourth and final event in Edinburgh on 17 September, just days before Fraser’s 40th birthday.
Last year, almost 20,000 people took part in Kiltwalks, raising £5.3M in the process, backed up by a generous £2.7M from The Hunter Foundation. As Scotland’s favourite mass participation walking event, each location offers a variety of walks to suit all abilities. This year’s entry fee has also been reduced by £12, with Kiltwalkers paying just £20 for the Mighty Stride and Big Stroll. The Wee Wander costs £12.50 or £6.50 for children.
To sponsor Fraser, please visit Fraser Gow is fundraising for The Yard (justgiving.com). If you have been inspired by Fraser and Quinne’s story, please contact The Yard’s fundraising team – email email@example.com or telephone 0131 476 4506. For more information about The Yard, visit www.theyardscotland.org.uk