Reach for the Stars! – £114K Raised for Disabled Children’s Charity

A record-breaking total of over £114,000 was raised for a disabled children’s charity during its annual star-studded fundraising ball at the weekend.

Around 300 people turned out in their finery for The Yard’s sixth Big Fun Raiser at Prestonfield House Hotel, Edinburgh, raising funds through tickets, a raffle and silent auction.

Yard Ball

Celine Sinclair (CEO of The Yard) alongside two of The Yard’s ‘alumni’, Edinburgh-based Craig Borwick and Hannah Preston. Credit – Vicki Watson Photography.

The Yard works with children and young people aged 0-25 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.

Hosted by Forth 1’s Boogie, the dinner dance event was supported by headline sponsor Cinch, alongside Burges Salmon and Cala Homes.

Guests included two of The Yard’s ‘alumni’, Edinburgh-based Hannah Preston (27) and Craig Borwick (25).

Celine Sinclair, CEO of The Yard, said, “The Yard has reached for the stars from the very beginning, since it was just a patch of ground in Canonmills, to supporting over 2000 people every year across three locations. Our dreams continue, as we plan to widen our reach, extending our unique model of family support and service excellence further across Scotland. We are exceptionally grateful to the individuals, families and businesses who raised this staggering sum for The Yard, and those who continue to rally around us. Let’s help more families reach for the stars.”

The yard ball

Celine Sinclair (CEO of The Yard) with Forth 1’s Boogie, alongside two of The Yard’s ‘alumni’, Edinburgh-based Hannah Preston (27) and Craig Borwick (25). Credit – Vicki Watson Photography.

Meanwhile, Dunfermline Dad Lawrence Cowan, whose daughter Eilish (4) attends The Yard, gave a speech highlighting the importance of the charity to his family.

He said, “My daughter has a rare genetic condition. It means she struggles to walk, has problems with her sight and a learning disability. There are lots of things she struggles with but she still deserves to be loved and accepted for the wonderful girl she is.

“That’s why The Yard is so important. We first visited The Yard this time last year and it has since become a huge and crucial part of our lives. It’s tough to find places to play which are accessible, welcoming and supportive.  At The Yard, they celebrate diversity and focus on what Eilish can do, rather than the challenges she faces.

Lawrence Cowan The Yard

Lawrence and daughter Eilish.

“In some ways, Eilish is a medical rarity but she’s also a child who has the right to be herself and belong. At The Yard, she’s a child, not a disability. The Yard offers a model that should be mainstreamed across Scotland, providing a place for everyone.

“Of course, for Eilish, as a four-year-old, it’s all about fun and being immersed in the things she loves. She’s hooked on The Yard and especially loves the painting room and sand pit. When we talk about The Yard, she has a huge smile on her face! Our son Fergus loves coming to The Yard too and enjoys some special one-to-one time with his mum when he’s not here, so it’s such an important part of our family life.”

The Yard ball

Lawrence speaking to guests on the night. Credit – Vicki Watson Photography.

Prizes on the night ranged from a three-day art retreat and stay at a luxury lodge to tickets for the Wimbledon men’s final.  Guests also bid for platinum seats at a Scottish Rugby Test match, yoga sessions, jewellery and the chance to drive an Aston Martin for the day!

Next year’s ball will take place on Saturday 1 June 2024, with tickets available at