What does it mean to be 35? In human years – rather than charity years - 35 is the age when you really start getting to know yourself. Common advice given to people turning 35 is not to get too distracted by things that don’t bring you joy and to make the most of things that do. This is the time one becomes too confident to settle and is still young enough to take risks.

As a charity, self-evaluation is one of our duties. Our journey is similar to that of a human being: growing, learning and evolving with time. And having just turned 35, reflecting on our work, we can confidently say - we’ve come a long way!

The late Alan Rees MBE, who was integral in establishing The Yard, outside our brand new flagship centre in 1993

The Yard began as a group of parents, teachers and social workers who wanted to create a safe place for disabled children to play. 3rd November 1986, Scotland Yard Adventure Centre was officially registered as a charity. Our building went up in 1993, so during our first years we ran all our services outdoors, with portable cabins for offices and storage. This is a testament to the Yardy spirit, even this early on: We do so much with very little.

In 1998, two of our best-known faces joined the team as playworkers, and guess what? They’re still working at The Yard!

Flash forward to 2005, when our current CEO Celine Sinclair joined the team. Back then, The Yard was working with around 50 families through just a few services. From then, we have continued to grow. Our building was renovated thanks to BBC DIY SOS The Big Build, we opened services in Dundee and Fife, and the number of families benefiting from our services continues to increase.

Today, we are so much more than we were 35 years ago, but our heart of child-centred and child-led play remains the same. Our early years sessions now offer support for children and families from the very start. Our youth clubs group young people together for activities like karaoke, roller discos and organised trips, creating long-lasting friendships. The Yard works with schools to give that extra bit of help that only non-structured learning can provide. Our holiday support service provides respite for parents during the school holidays, and our training courses let us share our expertise with the wider community.

So, what does 35 mean to us? When we look back, we see our values of adventure, community, kindness, understanding and inspiring in everything we do. Our team continues to uphold those values every day, we see them in our families, and most importantly, you feel them when you step foot into The Yard. And because we are already in our thirties, we are confident enough to admit it: We are very proud of The Yard.

What are your favourite memories of The Yard from the last 35 years?

Please help us keep delivering fun, friendship and adventure for years to come by making a gift today.