First Minister Announces Support for Disabled Children’s Charity

A charity that provides support to disabled children and young people, and their families, is set to receive up to £2 million of future funding.

First Minister Humza Yousaf made the commitment during a visit to The Yard’s head office in Edinburgh where he met children and their families who benefit from the charity and saw the adventure play facilities offered by the centre.

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The First Minister at The Yard today, with families and team members. Credit – Lesley Martin Photographer.

Subject to the outcome of the Scottish Budget process, the Scottish Government will look to provide extra funding to The Yard over the next three financial years.

The First Minister said, “I am absolutely committed to improving outcomes for disabled children and their families across Scotland. Visiting The Yard has given me a chance to see their outstanding work first-hand, and hear more about the support being provided by the charity.

“I was extremely impressed with the flexible and creative ways in which The Yard are offering services and support to disabled young people and their families, many of whom I know are facing additional and significant challenges.

“I sincerely hope that this vital funding will enable The Yard to grow their services and offer support to more families of young disabled children across Scotland – and I look forward to continuing to engage with The Yard in all of their family support centres in Edinburgh, Fife and Dundee.”

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High five! – The First Minister meets Eilish Cowan and her dad Lawrence. Credit – Lesley Martin Photographer.

The news follows a campaign by Dunfermline dad Lawrence Cowan and his four-year-old daughter Eilish.  Eilish, who has been attending The Yard since last year, is one of around 200 children in the world with a genetic abnormality in a gene called TUBA1A, meaning that she struggles to walk and is visually impaired. She also has a learning disability.

Lawrence, whose campaign ‘Our Kids Won’t Wait’ gathered over 2,000 signatures and attracted cross-party political support, said, “This funding will be transformational. It means that more disabled children will have the chance to be celebrated for who they are, build their confidence and find a place to belong. We really appreciate the First Minister coming and spending so much time with us. Eilish was really excited to meet him. She said it made her feel proud.”

Chief Executive of The Yard Celine Sinclair added, “We are absolutely thrilled that First Minister has committed to working with us to grow our services in Scotland. This announcement is transformational for disabled children and their families, and we look forward to working with our partners to ensure that our children get the support they need to get the best start in life and thrive.”

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.

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Celine Sinclair and Lawrence Cowan with the First Minister at The Yard today. Credit – Lesley Martin Photographer.

For more information about The Yard, visit