A Successful Summer for Aberdeen FC Community Trust
This summer, Aberdeen FC Community Trust (AFCCT) have been busy across the City and Aberdeenshire delivering a range of programmes for children in the community. From working in partnership with the Local Authorities delivering ‘Summer of Play’ to running seven weeks’ worth of football coaching, staff have been working hard to help restore some normality in young people’s lives after a difficult year.
As the busy summer comes to an end, and staff prepare for the new ‘school term’, we took the opportunity to look back and shine a light on some of the positive stories that came as a result of the summer activities.
Summer of Play
The Summer of Play programme, launched by Aberdeen City Council, provided a range of free events for young people, encouraging them to reconnect with friends, family, and the outdoors. AFCCT worked in partnership with the Council to offer street football and multi-sport sessions throughout all seven weeks of the summer holidays.
These sessions provided an opportunity for children and young people to have fun with their friends in a safe and relaxed environment.
“AFCCT coaches build positive, open relationships with the young people to support them in a dynamic, energetic and creative way.”
Chief Executive Liz Bowie, summed up the programme:
“We wanted to give children across Aberdeen City an opportunity to take part in a fun, engaging and relaxed environment, participating in football and multisport throughout the summer, after such a challenging year! AFCCT coaches build positive, open relationships with the young people to support them in a dynamic, energetic and creative way.”
AFCCT also worked in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council, who similarly launched a Summer of Play Programme for young people across the Shire. These sessions were also free, and the Trust provided football session in Fraserburgh as part of the programme.
Throughout the seven weeks of activities, staff have shared many positive stories involving the young people participating in the programme. A common theme is that young people often arrive at the programmes lacking confidence but leave with improved self-belief and social skills.
One AFCCT coach shared this story from the programme running at Northfield:
“We had a pupil who, when he arrived during the first week, was very shy and refused to take part in games or wouldn’t let others join him. Over the six weeks we have challenged him with new sports and sporting tasks, slowly introducing him into the larger group. Now he will throw himself into playing football with everyone and has made some close friends, who he spends time with during break.”
Another coach reflected on how the one-on-one sessions gave young people the space to have someone to speak to, helping them to engage with the larger group and leaving with a “big smile” on their faces.
The stories that have come out of the Summer of Play programme highlight the impact that sports can have on young people. The sessions run by AFCCT provide young people with an opportunity to try new activities and learn skills outside of a school environment, encouraging them to engage with learning, and the local community they are part of.
Food and Fun
“The children from the school get to come along over the holidays, be active, have some fun with their friends, while also getting the opportunity to have breakfast and lunch together.”
Food and Fun is a school holiday programme run by AFCCT that provides free meals and activities to children during breaks from the school term. The sessions provide an opportunity for children and young people to receive breakfast and lunch, as well as the chance to take part in physical activity with friends, all in a safe and nurturing environment.
During summer, the Trust ran this programme at Buchanhaven Primary School, and the coaches were happy to see everyone enjoying themselves and participating in the various activities.
“We have a fantastic partnership with Buchanhaven Primary, and the Food and Fun Programme we offer during the holiday periods allows the children from the school get to come along over the holidays, be active, have some fun with their friends, while also getting the opportunity to have breakfast and lunch together.”
The AFCCT football coaches were kept busy this summer with a full seven-week programme of sessions to run. There was something for everyone with football, goal keeping and girls-only sessions available.
The coaching provided an opportunity for the young participants to have fun with their friends- the Euro 2020 Theme Day proved popular! But it also was the chance to improve football skills and techniques. A session led by Aberdeen FC Academy manager Gav Levey was a highlight for many.
Based in fantastic facilities across the City and Shire, the summer coaching proved extremely popular with participants.
The range of activities on offer during the summer holidays aligns with AFCCT’s vision to maximise the potential of our communities by improving physical and mental wellbeing.
Looking forward, the Trust will continue to engage with young people and deliver the fun programmes provided during the summer, by working in partner schools and academies as the new term begins.