CLOWNING around was exactly what the doctor ordered for one Dunfermline family in a bid to raise some smiles.

Two Scottish children’s charities are currently offering online fun and support to youngsters with additional support needs with the help of the Clowndoctors.

They are a group of professional arts practitioners who are trained to work with vulnerable people and use techniques including improvisation, music, dance and more to engage with each child.

The Yard, a disabled children's charity in Edinburgh, is working with mental health charity Hearts & Minds to host video calls as the highly popular group sessions are unavailable to be attended in person right now.

Chantel Fox lives in Dunfermline with her husband Mathew, and sons Oliver and Lee. Oliver, 10, has complex additional needs and the video calls have been beneficial for the whole family.

Chantel said: “The Clowndoctors have been amazing. They bring Oliver and Lee 15 minutes a week where they can forget about everything, and interact and play with other people and one another.

“It completely makes them forget about the anxiety of lockdown and Covid, which both boys have struggled with, so it’s great for them.

“We feel we all get benefit out of them. Caring for your children during lockdown has been so lonely and difficult, as well as exhausting. The Clowndoctors give us all 15 minutes of sheer joy and laughter, which follows through the rest of the day."

She added: “Like always, The Yard gives us a lifeline. Even if we can’t be physically there, it’s so nice that they offered us these sessions. We are extremely grateful.”

In summer 2019, the two charities worked together to bring Clowndoctors into The Yard’s adventure play centre, to visit and play with members of their early years groups. Both organisations were keen to replicate the success of this partnership with an eight-week pilot project to help families cope with the challenges of lockdown.