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The Yard on Responsible Business and Corporate Volunteering

Posted: 26th September 2017

M&S Spark Something Good 2017The Yard runs adventure play services for disabled children, young people and their families in the east of Scotland.

We offer disabled children and their siblings the chance to experience creative, adventurous indoor and outdoor play in a well-supported environment, as well as providing advice, information and support for parents and carers.

At The Yard, we are fortunate to have great support from our local community, and we love welcoming local companies to do some volunteering. This helps us build stronger relationships by offering them greater insight into what we do and how they can help. Spending time at The Yard also helps teams really understand the difference their support makes to our children and families. We see corporate volunteering as a two-way partnership with benefits for both sides.

From the perspective of the corporate, volunteering is an excellent way to contribute to the organisation’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) objectives. It is also highly effective in bringing teams together, contributing to team building and boosting staff morale by enabling them to make a real difference in their local community. The teams who come along to The Yard tell us they also get the ‘feel good factor’ from the knowledge they are directly contributing to improved play experiences for our children and young people.

For The Yard, corporate volunteering allows us to benefit from time and skills or expertise we otherwise would not have within our own team. It is a great way to encourage business and skill sharing, helping bring the private and third sectors together. There is a lot we can learn from each other, for example, as The Yard continues to grow and expand into new areas. Our communications team recently benefitted from a full day of Skyscanner’s growth expertise as part of their OneDay initiative, which helped us consider new ways of working.

This year alone, we have been supported by teams from organisations as diverse as Marks & Spencer, Kames Capital, Peter Vardy, Wood Mackenzie and the Scottish Government. These teams have supported us with everything from hands-on jobs like gardening, painting and bike repair, to training for our office staff, brainstorming our latest communications strategy and delivering skills-based workshops for our young people.

During the summer, as part of Spark Something Good, a group of volunteers from Marks & Spencer helped us create an amazing new sensory garden area in a secluded part of our playground. Our young people are delighted to have a new garden space to explore. We have also gratefully accepted offers of a new mural for our reception area and MS Office training for our team.

We know first-hand that volunteering, even just for a few hours, often leads to longer term relationships and strengthens our links with the local community. We always have a wide range of volunteering opportunities on offer, from bake sales to building fences. If you are interested in offering your team’s skills to support The Yard, please email

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