A popular adventure play centre in Edinburgh for families of children with special needs could be recreated in Fife within the next 18 months.
That’s according to Celine Sinclair, chief executive of The Yard, who is urging families and professionals in the Kingdom to attend an open day in the capital this Sunday to explore the option further.
The move comes after The Yard’s high-profile appearance on the BBC One programme DIY SOS in 2012.
“We were approached afterwards by a variety of funders willing to support us to scale up and provide services across Scotland,” explained Celine
“We are the only centre of our kind in the east of Scotland and over the past seven years the service has grown significantly.
“Every service we’ve started has been sustained and we see no reason why this could not be done in Fife.”
The Yard’s sessions, overseen by specially trained staff, offer respite for families with children with multiple and complex needs.
Outdoor attractions include a sand play area with water pump, a boat swing, solar dome and go-karts.
Indoors, children can enjoy soft play, an art room and state-of-the-art sensory room.
Around 1600 disabled children and young people attend play and youth work sessions at The Yard and, although the majority of visitors come from Edinburgh, around 40 families from Fife use the attraction every week.
Research, however, indicates there are more local familes who could benefit from a similar facility on their own doorstep.
Fife organisations have responded positively to the proposal and The Yard is in exploratory partnership talks with Fife Council.
“We found there were a lot of families with children with special needs in Fife and, although the services there are very high quality and the families are happy with the services provided to them, there were still real benefits to creating a new safe play space in the region,” said Celine.
Cllr Douglas Chapman, who will welcome Fife families on Sunday, said The Yard has done “invaluable work” in Edinburgh over many years.
“We are now looking at how we can learn from their vast experience and see if we can bring the same level of play and support provision to children and parents in Fife.
“We have spoken to many people across Fife about the potential of a Yard-style play facility and while we appreciate there is a lot of hard work involved, no one has said don’t try to do it...if anything, quite the opposite.”
To attend the event, which takes place at The Yard, Eyre Place Lane, between 1.30pm and 4.30pm, RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org or call (0131) 476 4506