Visiting The Yard is a unique and dynamic adventure experienced every year by more than 1500 children and young people with additional support needs. Our doors open daily throughout the year to schools, families, disabled children and young people, their siblings and friends.
Our role in the lives of children and families is an ambitious one. We aim to provide care, support, fun and friendship in equal measure whilst encouraging families to let go and promote challenge, personal growth and supported independence for their children.
The services for families have grown over the 25 years since The Yard’s inception in 1986. Parents and social workers came together and recognised the need for a safe space for their disabled children to play More than two decades on the centre is thriving.
The Yard of the 80’s was established as a play space that would become a family and community centre that would support children, siblings, parents and carers. In spite of its growth The Yard has retained this holistic approach and its ethos of a child centred, child led play service has remained intact.
We offer a daily diet of play sessions for special schools as an integral part of their curriculum and weekly our soft play is invaded by pre school children and chattering parents. Our family sessions twice a week couple respite with peer support for mums, dads, and siblings alike. Our four youth groups and our young adults club run throughout the year and are the starting point for friendships that extend out with The Yard. They give young disabled people the chance to socialise and try out new things with support from the Playteam but independent from parents and carers.
We aim to share our knowledge and skills with other professionals through our national and local training programmes. In house we offer a weekly programme of disability training on autism awareness, challenging behaviour, Signalong and inclusive play amongst others.
In the delivery of all our services we think creatively and carefully and use materials and junk that others would cast aside. This prudence and bent for recycling and upcycling in lieu of investing pounds in plastic sits well alongside the natural curiosity of children and the creative nature of our staff. It results in a flexible play experience that is child centred and stimulating for all abilities. Our team stand back and reflect as much as they step in to encourage and facilitate inclusive play. Only then can children and young people discover the next level for themselves.
Each and every session is reflected on and recorded and this consistent practice has allowed The Yard to build a library of experience that we willingly share with other organisations.
Our greatest accolade is a sea of smiling faces across the adventure play ground and children and young people sharing, space, time and playful laughter together. Our service is inspected with equal rigour by the Care Inspectorate and their latest review described our strengths as a family service.
Our vision for the future extends beyond our humble beginnings and we are working with other organisations in other areas of Scotland to share our experience and open similar centres nationwide.
Key Staff and Board
“The Yard is an exceptional service that enables children with additional support needs to experience, explore and play in ways that are not available elsewhere. In the process, parents and carers are offered respite, support and new perspectives in relation to their own children.”
22 Eyre Place Lane
Edinburgh EH3 5EH
We are open to families
with children with
needs on a
drop-in basis Friday
on Saturdays year
round. We are open
6 days 10am-4pm
in school holidays.
0131 476 4506
Get here by bus
The number 8, 27
and 36 stop nearby
Click here for more