Who we are Blog Leo can't wait for The Yard to reopen We want to thank you, our The Yard community, for your festive generosity in 2020. Although currently closed to our members due to COVID-19, on the approach to Christmas we raised an amazing £14,000 for our services, compared with our typical festive total of around £4,000. Thank you! For just a few pounds, families could order a personalised video or letter for your child from Santa, featuring Signalong or Makaton. As well as donations from our families, and fantastic sales figures for our first ever Christmas cards, we also received generous donations from the public, and our corporate and community supporters. Gill Thomson, Service Development Manager, said, “Christmas was undoubtedly very different last year, particularly for children who could normally enjoy parties and grotto visits. However, fundraising was also very different, with no supermarket, school fair or church collections. However, thanks to the generosity of our local community, we can be there for disabled children and their families as we welcome this new year. For now, that needs to be online support, but we can’t wait to welcome families back into our centres in the weeks ahead.” One of our Dundee families looking forward to restrictions being lifted is Nicola, Ross and Leo Donnelly. Leo (3), who was born at 26 weeks, has cerebral palsy and visual impairment. Having become regulars at The Yard last year, Nicola was already starting to see changes in her son. Nicola explained, “We enjoyed all of the usual baby and toddler activities with Leo, like baby sensory, soft play and swimming, but as he grew, so did the gap between him and his peers. We realised he needed more care but also an environment where he could be himself, enjoy a safe space and just thrive. The first thing that struck me about The Yard was how welcoming and enthusiastic the staff were. Beyond an initial application form, we didn’t have to explain anything or download our story, which can be so hard for families to do again and again. We were accepted from the word go. The staff really know how to get the best out of Leo, and tell us he’s making real progress, becoming bolder and trying new things - things he might not do at home. “From a parent’s perspective, we sometimes exhale when we walk in the door. It’s just a relief to know that Leo can be Leo there, and similarly, if my husband or I are having a low day, it doesn’t matter. That environment is crucial when you have a child with additional needs. As a working mum, it’s also fantastic that The Yard was open at weekends – we simply can’t wait to return!” We cannot wait until it is safe for us to reopen to all our members in Dundee, Kirkcaldy and Edinburgh. Let's keep everything crossed it will be soon! Until then, you can access our whole archive of online videos where we share play ideas, sessions, and signed songs and stories.