Dundee families have expressed their devastation and outrage following a deliberate fire at The Yard.

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Nadia Christison lives in Dundee with her partner Ryan and three children, Saul (15), Saskiah (13) and Guy (6). Nadia usually attends The Yard with her mother and sons or takes Saskiah too, as an extra support. Both boys have autism.

Nadia said, “It was only a few weeks ago that we attended The Yard’s Christmas party and met Santa in the Gingerbread House grotto. We all love going to The Yard, it’s a real lifeline for us as a family, and the Gingerbread House is central to that, as are the bikes and trikes which we hear have also been damaged, some destroyed. We are absolutely appalled and sickened to hear of this deliberate fire, and hope the good people of Dundee can rally round and help fund the repairs and replacements for what we all cherish so much.”

On the evening of Thursday 19th January 2023, a fire was deliberately started within the garden of the facility at Drumlanrig Place, damaging the interior, contents and electrics of the much-loved Gingerbread House. The colourful house, home to The Yard’s specialist sensory equipment and Santa’s Grotto, was gifted to The Yard by the National Lottery five years ago and decorated by some of Scotland’s lottery winners.

A fantastic space during inclement weather, the Gingerbread House is also used to store various bikes, go-karts, trikes and soft play equipment, most of which have been destroyed or seriously damaged by the fire. Damage is estimated to be in the region of £10,000. The Yard will not offer its family session as planned this Sunday, but will reopen early next week.

Gill Thomson, Service Development Manager at The Yard said, “We are absolutely sickened by this deliberate fire, which will be a huge loss to the families who rely on our service as a safe and welcoming place to play. The Gingerbread House is a much-loved and much-used facility, the beating heart of our outdoor space. It’s heartbreaking to have to tell families that they can’t come this Sunday, and that the house and everything it contains has been damaged. Most of the families we support have no other options when it comes to play, and rely on our facilities to relax, unwind and be themselves. We are shocked and saddened by the cruelty and sheer mindlessness of this attack.”

The fire comes just over a year since an attack at The Yard’s premises in Edinburgh.

To support our families, please visit our fundraising appeal page. Thank you.