The Yard proves its worth to the wider community

Web the yard exterior

The charity - which works with disabled children and their families - undertook research into its return on investment

8th September 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A new study has shown the wider benefits of a Scottish charity which works with the disabled.

The Yard creates havens of adventure play and fun for disabled children in Scotland.

It was a finalist in this year’s Scottish Charity Awards and is extending its services to Dundee and Fife, having been based in Edinburgh for many years.

And the many benefits of The Yard’s work with families has been shown in independent research into the charity’s social return on investment.

The research shows that every pound spent at The Yard results in a return of over £20, and every pound invested achieves a social saving of £12.

“We just realised we had reached a certain size that we needed to be able to actually demonstrate what the benefits of the charity are,” said chief executive Celine Sinclair.

“We are working with two new local authorities, in Dundee and Fife, and it seemed timely to have this research done.

“We are supported very well by other organisations and always try to be resourceful with other people’s money. We wanted to show that we make good use of it.”

The research not only showed the financial benefits of the work that The Yard does, but the positives of families with disabled children being able to meet and gain information from similar families.

“It is astounding,” said Celine. “It is really interesting for us because when we started The Yard and when we developed it, it was all about creating safe spaces for children and young people.

“What the research clearly shows is that there are a lots of other positive outcomes and benefits to the way that The Yard is delivered.

“Clearly there is the building of a social support network for parent and carers, which is extremely valuable.

It can be very difficult for families (with disabled children) to get information

“What we do know is that there is a lot of research that has been done that shows disabled young people and children are far more likely to face high levels of social isolation. Having somewhere they can build friendships, where they can be supported and have settings which allow them to be the best they can be is great for their wellbeing, mental health and self-confidence.”

“The other benefit that came out of the research that is massive is the amount of information that families get from other people who they meet informally. You can’t put a price on that.

“It can be very difficult for families to get information. What we do know now is that if families get information informally then it makes them feel more confident and able to do things.

“But they want to get that information from other people, and do not want to get it from websites or other places.”

Case study: The Pass family

The Yard proves its worth to the wider community

Gillian and Andy Pass have been using the services at The Yard with their son Jamie, 10, and daughter Erin, seven, since Jamie was diagnosed with autism in 2010. 

The family attend The Yard’s weekly play sessions together and Jamie also visits a weekly youth club at The Yard Edinburgh. 

Gillian said: “We came in, walked through the doors, and that was it – I knew we had found our place. We knew we had found a place that was just like a home. It was so welcoming and I met parents who could sa, ‘Been there, done that, got the t-shirt’. It settled me and gave me that hour and a half’s peace, and I felt that I was coping with things, because often I wasn’t. The Yard is a home – there’s no other way to describe it.”

Case study: The Fox family

The Yard proves its worth to the wider community

Chantel Fox said: “We heard about The Yard from the internet. We have been attending since just before The Yard Fife officially opened and it has really changed our lives, more than we or anyone could ever imagine. We had never been to The Yard in Edinburgh before so the Yard Fife really was our first insight of how amazing this place is.

“My son Oliver is seven years old; he has a rare genetic disorder called Wiedemann-Steiner syndrome, along with global developmental delay, sensory processing disorder, ADHD, a learning disability and suspected autism. Life with Oliver on a daily basis is very challenging. When he was
diagnosed, we lost lots of friends and people who couldn’t understand or deal with his behaviour, him hurting their children, the stares and the difficulties.

“The Yard Fife gave us a place to go and escape to, where we could all go, be a family and have fun together, as well as have a chat and a coffee. It gives Oliver freedom, something he never ever gets if we are
anywhere mainstream.”

Case study: Carr/Strachan family

The Yard proves its worth to the wider community

Fiona Carr, from Dundee, has four children: Catalina, Lennon and four-year-old twins, Jax and Johnny. Jax has autism and will only say single words.

She said: “I’ve learnt so much from the other parents and carers here – I’ve found out about nurseries, schools, the carers’ centre…the list goes on.  I wouldn’t have a clue if I hadn’t come here. It feels like a wee family. You don’t want to ask personal questions but everyone here is really open and really happy to chat.

“The boys have now got a relationship; it’s helped Jax to deal with other people and has given Johnny the chance to mix with other disabled children.”