A HIDDEN treasure in Stirling has been playing host to sessions, supporting young families during the pandemic.

Play sessions have been going ahead at Ailie’s Garden behind the Smith Art Gallery and Museum which serves as an open-air gallery, complete with musical instruments and games.

The sessions have been going ahead for children and families supported by NHS Forth Valley’s Health Visiting Support Team in Stirling, which teamed up with the museum thanks to the help of a Covid-19 response grant.

The grant also helped promote virtual sessions after a decision was taken to postpone face-to-face appointments.

The aim was to provide an inclusive service, universally available and accessible to as many individuals and families as possible.

These sessions cover a wide range of subjects and include baby massage, benefits of playing with a child, sleep, managing behaviour and more.

Teresa McQuillian, nursery nurse with the support team, said: “Although we are still unable to reinstate face-to-face groups, we have been fortunate to be able to provide parents with the opportunity to attend our outdoor groups.

“We have worked with our colleagues from the Smith Art Gallery and Museum to offer groups for children under the age of one and those aged between one and three.

“Through the group for children aged under one, parents have been able to meet up in a Covid-safe environment and benefit from social interactions and discussions around health-related topics.

“The group for children aged one to three has focused on motor skills, balance, co-ordination and, of course, having fun.

“Despite the sometimes inclement weather parents and little ones have enjoyed meeting up and engaging in activities while benefiting from being in a lovely, peaceful outdoor environment.

“This partnership working with the local museum has been extremely positive.”

Click here for more information on the community grants scheme, which aims to help organisations and community groups across the Forth Valley improve mental health and wellbeing.