Diversity is celebrated at The Yard and although all the children and young people who visit the playground have a disability of some kind, their individual needs, interests, aspirations and abilities are unique. These are just some of their stories.

Aela’s story

by mum, Sunyata

Alea has Retts syndrome, a severe neurological disorder that results in profound learning and physical disabilities. Her needs have had a devastating effect on the family and after a traumatic family breakdown I found myself as a single parent to Aela and her brother who was a toddler at the time.

Alea has Retts syndrome, a severe neurological disorder that results in profound learning and physical disabilities. Her needs have had a devastating effect on the family and after a traumatic family breakdown I found myself as a single parent to Aela and her brother who was a toddler at the time.

It is the only place where all of our needs are met. Aela is free to roam and there is space and support from staff when she needs it. Luca has the chance to play with other children and I am well supported by staff and other parents and carers. 

The Yard has been an absolute lifeline for me and for Luca.

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Josh’s story

by dad, Grant

As parents of a good natured, loving and severely autistic seven year old boy, Josh, every day is quite literally an adventure. His autism creates challenging behaviour as he struggles to cope emotionally and physically with the normal world around him.

As parents of a good natured, loving and severely autistic seven year old boy, Josh, every day is quite literally an adventure. His autism creates challenging behaviour as he struggles to cope emotionally and physically with the normal world around him.

With two teenagers also in the house we find the balance of family life very difficult and have found as time progresses that Josh is most relaxed when he is outside and able to explore what nature offers him. The Yard with its myriad of bushes, paths and sandpits, as well as employing well trained play workers, is the perfect setting for Josh to be himself, particularly where no one judges you and everyone is your friend.

The Yard is one of a kind and over a period of time has become an essential part of our weekly routine. I know when Josh is there he is happy and safe and this allows us some respite. I have also noticed that in small ways he has developed his own special relationships with staff and with other children and this can only be considered progress. The Yard forms an integral part of Josh's necessary routine and I'm not sure I would know at this stage how this could be replaced.

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Jamie’s story

by mum, Gillian

Without the Yard I would be lost and unable to cope with everyday life. I can quite honestly say that your preschool sessions are a lifeline for me.

Without the Yard I would be lost and unable to cope with everyday life. I can quite honestly say that your preschool sessions are a lifeline for me.

Jamie's diagnosis of ASD aged four helped us understand his very challenging and often violent behaviour but it meant I became very isolated as friends with children refused to visit. From the outset The Yard staff understood Jamie's needs and let him be himself. He can paint, bake, dress up, play chase, dig in the sandpit and ride a tricycle in this relaxed and supportive environment. I can have an adult conversation and my daughter Erin, who is now 14 months, can meet other siblings and play in the new baby room. Coming to The Yard means that I am a better mum to my two kids.

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A Volunteer's story

by Paula

I adore volunteering at The Yard and work one day a week with two of the schools sessions. It really is a special place with such remarkable children, caring teachers and inspiring play workers.

I adore volunteering at The Yard and work one day a week with two of the schools sessions. It really is a special place with such remarkable children, caring teachers and inspiring play workers.

I feel very fortunate to be part of such a unique organisation that means so much to all of the children and the staff that come to play as part of their school day. It is wonderful to witness the children creating their own special memories through the creative and dynamic play opportunities offered at The Yard. It is a privilege to be a part of these memories. What could be more rewarding than seeing so many smiling faces at every session? As I said, I absolutely love volunteering at The Yard.

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Sibling's story

by Sam's sister, Abi

Hiya, well my name is Abigail hale-bopp Gourlay and I am 13. I live in Edinburgh with my mum and dad and my brother Sam.

Hiya, well my name is Abigail hale-bopp Gourlay and I am 13. I live in Edinburgh with my mum and dad and my brother Sam.

Sam is 11 but he is severely autistic. He can be difficult at times, in fact, very difficult but its okay. I go to Forrester High school. It is good there, I have to admit. It’s really good we have The Yard though. I have been going to The Yard for about seven years now and it has helped my mum, dad and me so much. My mum said to me that without The Yard she doesn’t know how she would cope but the good thing about The Yard is that it’s not just for Sam, it is for me, dad and mum too. That is why I love The Yard :D!

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How to find us

The Yard
22 Eyre Place Lane
Edinburgh EH3 5EH

Opening times
We are open to families
with children with
disabilities on a
drop-in basis Friday
afternoons 1pm-4pm 
during term-time
and 10am-4pm 
on Saturdays year
round. We are open
6 days 10am-4pm
in school holidays.  

Contact us
Email us
0131 476 4506 

Get here by bus
The number 8, 27
and 36 stop nearby

Directions
small map
Click here for more
detailed directions 

Success stories

"People play
together more.
There's more
happiness."

About us

Our story
including
the team
behind
The Yard 

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Click through images of our play facility

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Soft Play
Main Hall
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