I recently got the opportunity to visit the Yard – an adventure play centre in Edinburgh for children and young people with additional support needs.
The project, which is the only one of its kind in East Scotland, has been on the go since 1986 when parents and social workers came together to recognise the need for safe play facilities for disabled children.
In the 25+ years since it launched the Yard’s ethos has remained the same – to provide child centred and child led play services. However, over the years the service has also grown to become a community centre that provides support and respite for family and carers of children with additional support needs.
During the visit I got the chance to meet with the Yard’s specialist play workers to hear about some of the services on offer. The project has a range of programmes aimed at different groups whether it is daily sessions for pupils from special schools, family sessions which provide peer support and respite for family members or youth groups where young people can have fun and make friends.
What struck me most during the visit was the way that the children are encouraged to explore and be themselves to help build confidence.
If you would like to find out more about the support on offer, I would urge you to visit the Yard’s website here.