The Yard

The-YardSolardome supports BBC Children in Need by donating a SOLARDOME® Retreat to The Yard, a centre for children with learning and physical difficulties.

The Yard, the only place of its kind in Eastern Scotland, has been working with children with special needs and their families for 25 years and with demand for its services growing the need for new facilities has never been more acute! Thankfully DIY SOS: The Big Build chose The Yard for their Children In Need 2012 special as they were so impressed with the centre. This well-deserved opportunity has meant a complete refurbishment of the whole building both inside and out.

After nine days of constant painting with great painters, building, glazing & turfing the new Yard was finally revealed to all the people who play and work there. It was a joy to see so many happy, smiling and excited faces – not only the children, but the parents, staff and volunteers as well – plus lots and lots of laughter, cheering and clapping!

The SOLARDOME® Retreat sits at the centre of the outside area making a stunning focal point for the gardens. It creates not only an area for the children to retreat to in the cold, wet and windy weather, but also a haven for the parents to sit and relax, and have some well-earned respite whilst watching their children at play.

The dome has been furnished with seating and plants and can be used for growing, play sessions, quiet time and arts and crafts. It can even be used for the Yard’s evening clubs as LED lights have been installed throughout the interior. As well as the dome the outside adventure area now boasts a sandpit, water features, a boat swing, climbing frames, slides, an assault course, a wigwam, a tree house, a hidden boardwalk, a wooden cabin, a music area and a go-karting track! Whilst inside there is a sensory room, a soft play area, an art and craft studio, a dressing up corner, a kitchen and plenty more.

Celine Sinclair, Chief Executive of The Yard said:

“The make-over of The Yard has made such an enormous difference to all our visitors and staff. For example in the outdoor area the Solardome®  glasshouse is not only a stunning centre-piece, but it means the parents can now watch their children at play in warmth and comfort and with a 360° degree view. It is also somewhere completely different and inspiring for the kids. The dome can even be used for our evening clubs as a whole lighting system has been installed.”

Not many children centres are more deserving of such a fantastic make-over than this place. It is an absolute blessing to the local community; providing care, support, fun, education and friendship throughout the year, to more than 1500 children and young people, and their teachers, families, and friends.

The vast array of services that the Yard provides is quite breath-taking. It offers play sessions for special schools and for pre-school children and their parents, family sessions with support for parents and siblings, training sessions for other professionals, youth groups and even a young adults club – which gives young disabled people the chance to socialise and try out new things with support from the team, but independent from parents and carers.

Not only is the Yard helping these disadvantaged children and young adults, but it has also has a very strong environmental ethic. The staff always think creatively when planning their play sessions and try to use materials or ’junk’ that many others would cast aside. This respect for the planet has also been reflected in the make-over, as measures were taken to reduce heat loss through the windows, the roof and ventilation, plus solar panels were installed on the roof.

And Solardome were honored to be a part of such a great achievement. The Yard is now working with other organizations like in Scotland to share their experience and open similar centres nationwide.

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