Who we are Blog Meet our Digital Services Lead, Dan Have you met Dan? Dan Fraser, our Digital Services Lead, started his journey with The Yard as a volunteer back in 2006, while at high school and working towards his Duke of Edinburgh Award. “I really fell in love with it and decided to stay on – little did I know it would become the start of an interesting journey. I did some volunteering for a few years, finished school 2009, lived in Australia, came back to Scotland for university, and then signed on as a sessional playworker in 2014. I have since held a few different roles at The Yard, splitting my time between here and another charity in the US. My most recent role was funded with the aim of expanding our early years service to reach families who are not accessing The Yard for geographical or financial reasons. This involves partnership working with local organisations to reach more families who might benefit from our services. We have found there is greater provision for pregnant mums and vulnerable adults, than for children aged 0-5 with disabilities and their families. These groups of parents, carers and children tend to form their own meet-ups, as they feel disconnected from other groups, so there is an obvious need for greater support. If you have a young child with additional support needs, you can feel very isolated. We often hear similar stories of families feeling detached or isolated, and many parents or carers are with their child 24/7, day in, day out. When it comes to their play experience, they might try things like soft play, but their child is perceived to behave differently, it often removes their confidence to go to public spaces. This can lead to families further isolating themselves...until they find The Yard.” No one wants their child to be lonely. Help us continue supporting disabled children and families who need us. “Since our lives are all looking a bit different right now, and social distancing means we can’t get together in large numbers, I’m also working at getting The Yard online for all our families. We’re doing lots of digital outreach work to support our children, young people and families with live Zoom sessions, pre-recorded video sessions, video greetings for clubs, signed stories and songs, relaxation sessions, and play ideas to share on social media.” You can help disabled children and their families build friendships with The Yard. Your donation helps us offer online support and build a sustainable future for our services. Thank you for being a part of supporting The Yard's children, young people and families, both right now and in the future. “It’s important for our team to represent diversity in gender and age. We all bring different things to the job and offer a different play experience for the children and young people we support. There’s a perception that play work is a female oriented job, but we know children benefit most from a more well-rounded experience. Young people need all different kinds of role models and types of play – some want very physical play, some more artistic and creative (which I am not!), but we all naturally manoeuvre to fit the children’s needs. We all bring something different to the role and to The Yard. We build very good connections with both the young people and their parents and carers. Some will arrive at The Yard after a really tough week, but they come in, relax, there’s a lovely connection there, and we can tell them what’s worked well for their child. We can help make a real difference by offering techniques and strategies to take home, which again helps parents who are feeling alone or isolated, and like no one else understands their challenges. Families are so grateful for the difference we make and introducing them to things they can do at home. So my job is incredibly rewarding.” We are working hard to continue supporting children and families, and to be here for our families. We’ve been busy creating online sessions showcasing everything from play ideas, music and movement to well-being. Building communities is at the heart of what we do, so we’re always at the end of the phone or email for anyone requiring that little bit of extra support at this time. We are also working to ensure The Yard will continue to be here for our families in the future. If your family or a family you know of could benefit from The Yard’s support, please get in touch with us. Learn more about our campaign to increase support for The Yard’s services now and in the future.