As one of our best loved volunteers, Jim shares his experience of volunteering at The Yard, which we think could inspire you to do the same!

"I am Jim Tucker, age 77, and I live near Dunfermline in Fife. In my working life, I was a research scientist working in medical imaging. After retirement, I worked as a volunteer with the Samaritans for seven years.

Looking for a change in my volunteer work, I first came upon the Yard as a user . I have a grandson, then 11 years old, who has learning and speech difficulties. We all enjoyed our first The Yard experience, and I thought that I might be able to help. I have now been a volunteer at The Yard for just over three years. Currently, I usually spend about seven hours each week at The Yard – three at the Monday teen club in Edinburgh, and four at The Yard Fife each weekend.

As a volunteer, I see my role as supporting the professional playworkers in their work. Most of this involves interaction with the children – digging sand, helping them paint pictures, riding the bikes or go-karts, throwing or kicking balls, and getting soaked in water pistol fights! But I also get to talk to parents and carers – many have really inspirational stories to tell, and are really glad to see their charges so happy, and to get the break that The Yard gives them. Then there's the clearing up; at the end of a long day, The Yard staff always seem really grateful for any help with clearing and cleaning of play equipment after the sessions have finished.

I have often been asked why I volunteer at at my time of life. Well, the PC answer is that I like to help deserving causes, and I believe The Yard has a fantastically useful role in supporting disabled children and their families - people who face very difficult lives and often have very little support from other sources. Also, I appreciate the contact with the young, enthusiastic and very professional staff, both above and below stairs, who do such a great job in keeping this organisation going.

But the true answer is that I really enjoy it. Now that my own children and grandchildren are growing up, it keeps me in contact with youngsters, many of whom have very difficult lives. Whatever their disability, it is very rewarding to gradually earn the trust and affection of a disabled child. Also, as you come on duty, the thrill of hearing children's shrieks of joy coming from The Yard is worth a great deal.

So, if you like children and are thinking of volunteering at The Yard, I would definitely suggest you give it a go. It might be a bit scary at first, but you will always have very friendly and professional Yard staff to support you and back you up."

Find out more about becoming a volunteer at The Yard in Edinburgh, Dundee or Fife.