Report Reveals Socio-economic Impact of Aberdeen FC Community Trust
Latest report underlines positive impact of Aberdeen FC Community Trust’s work in education, mental wellbeing, health and social interaction.
Aberdeen Football Club’s charity partner has published its 2021-22 Impact Report, which reveals it is delivering both social and healthcare savings through its education, health and mental wellbeing programmes.
A total of 4,208 participants from 17 primaries and seven secondaries engaged with AFCCT over the past year, representing 165,523 interactions with the Trust which have increased attendance and timekeeping and improved behaviour. A total of 119 pupils achieved SQA qualifications through AFCCT interventions.
Meanwhile, the Trust’s health and wellbeing programmes attracted 4,160 participations in 2021-22, of which 42 participants are living with dementia.
Established in 2014, AFCCT’s vision is to maximise the potential of its communities by improving physical and mental wellbeing, providing inclusive opportunities to change lives for the better.
In 2018, the UEFA SFA Social Return on Investment report demonstrated that Aberdeen FC Community Trust (AFCCT) and partners were helping to add £97million of value to the region through its work in encouraging participation in football and delivering football-related activities in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.
Today’s report reflects on the Trust’s achievements over the past year, and how it is increasing that social return on investment with programmes and activities being delivered across two main areas – Education & Positive Destinations and Football, Health & Wellbeing.
The Trust’s work in local schools uses a shared passion for football and the power of the Aberdeen Football Club brand as a starting point to close the poverty-related attainment gap and support wellbeing.
By developing positive relationships, the Trust encourages young people to engage in education, supporting a variety of subject areas including numeracy, literacy and STEM. Coaches act as role models and mentors providing crucial support for young people and their mental health.
The Trust’s MINDSET programme addresses adolescent mental wellbeing through play-based learning. The pandemic and associated lockdowns have affected young people and this programme has had a positive impact in schools across the region. In Aberdeen city, every S1 pupil in three city secondary schools completed MINDSET.
The Trust also supports young people by preparing them for life after school. Its youth ambassador programme, Brighter Futures, supports the transition from school through goal-setting, skills development, work experience and volunteering, whilst Kick Off Your Career is a six-week course aimed at young people at risk of long-term unemployment.
A wide range of grassroots and mass participation football opportunities across the city and Aberdeenshire, including coaching, holiday camps, leagues and festivals were provided by the Trust.
With a focus on inclusion and opportunity as well as fun, the growth of girls’ football has been a priority, alongside the addition of new venues and locations to increase participation for all.
The Trust also works to alleviate social isolation and loneliness amongst older participants. Covering a diverse range of activities, particularly in support of active ageing, from physical activity such as health walks to programmes for those with dementia and memory impairment. Its “Football Memories” programme, run with Alzheimer Scotland, enables conversations around the shared interest of football and past games, often with former Dons players.
Liz Bowie, Chief Executive of AFCCT, said the report reflected an unusual year, in which the Trust adapted as the world emerged from lockdown.
“Our latest Impact Report shows that AFCCT is well positioned for the future,” she said. “Our work in education in the region has gained prominence, with both local authorities viewing us as a key partner in the delivery of sustainable programming within schools across the North-east of Scotland.
“Delivering in primary and secondary schools, we have continued to inspire the next generation through the power of football and the passion for AFC and, in so doing, have played our part in closing the poverty attainment gap.
“Surprisingly for some, the reality of our work means we frequently deliver without ever touching a football! From our work in schools through to our health and wellbeing programmes, we focus on maximising the potential of our communities to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
“Increasingly we have been working to support improvement in mental wellbeing – from our innovative play-based MINDSET programme through to men’s mental health with the Changing Room project and our dementia friendly initiatives.”
The Trust has grown from a staff of just eight to a team of 35 employees and 25 session workers, as well as 33 volunteers, who provided a total of 2,300 hours of support last year.
Ms Bowie said that partnership working was key to the success of the Trust and its programmes. “We believe in the power of partnership and many of these community programmes are collaborations with local and national charities and organisations,” she said. “We rely on the support of a significant number of volunteers without whom much of our work would not be possible. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our volunteers, partners and generous supporters who have helped us this year.”