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‘I have a family again, well two families’: Aberdeen FC Community Trust unveil heartwarming video showcasing their impact on local children

Aberdeen FC Community Trust (AFCCT) has unveiled a heart-warming video, that showcases the good they do in the local area.

The charity runs many popular local initiatives in the region, helping to change lives for the better.

They use the power of football to do this.

One of the key areas the charity focuses on is helping young people who may be struggling due to hardships in their home life.

Steven Sweeney, 3rd from left, Community Operations Manager, Aberdeen Community Trust, with volunteers, from left, Steven Harvey, Jenna McDonald and Paul Davidson at Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen, Scotland. (Photo by Brendan Moran – UEFA/UEFA via Sportsfile)

In their video, published last night, they focus on the story of a young girl Dons fan who has grown up with a mother who is addicted to drugs.

She is taken into care and reveals how lonely she feels in her current life.

However, her life takes a turn for the positive when she gets involved with AFCCT who help her with socialising, her school work and building up her confidence.

From a timid young girl who says: “I felt alone, like I was fending for myself,” her life improves thanks to the support she is offered.

She becomes more confident, and by the end of the video says: “I don’t have a lot of great memories as a young kid but I’ve had a lot of great ones since then and now I’m looking forward to making more.

“My coach has taught me that we all have paths, I can’t change that, but now I’m thinking about my future, and I have a family again, well two families.”

‘Much more than football’

Liz Bowie, chief executive of AFCCT, said she hopes the video captures that the trust is “so much more than football” and the monumental work the AFCCT does in the community.

She added: “I’m very keen to get the message out that what the community trust does is far more than football itself.

“We use the power of football to engage with young people and children to help them develop their confidence and believe in their abilities.”

Mrs Bowie explained the trust worked with production company Snap to develop the video, which is based on a true story.

She said: “They helped us to develop a storyline based around a trust story, which makes it even more emotive.

“We work with children who have very challenging backgrounds and help them to aspire to better things.

“In the video, the girl has a really tough home life, and the home life did improve, but also built up her confidence.”

The pandemic had proved to be a challenging time for the organisation, with schools closed last year and much face-to-face learning disrupted.

As a result, AFCCT adapted to this form of online learning and coaches set up their own version of Joe Wicks’ popular home workouts called P.E. at Pittodrie.

Mrs Bowie said the trust is focusing on a new mental health programme called Mindset, delivered in partnership with American nonprofit organisation Grassroots Soccer.

The initiative brings mental health into schools with the aim to improve the mental well-being of young people.

Mindset’s goal is to help break the stigma surrounding mental health, in an effort to normalise pupils being able to speak about it.

AFCCT statistics

Aberdeen FC Community Trust chief executive Liz Bowie pictured at Pittodrie Stadium

Between July 2019 and March 2020, AFCCT provided 7,540 meals for young people, tackling food poverty at their place of education and in the community during school holidays.

The charity’s work also involves them using Coaches embedded within local schools to help reduce the poverty-related attainment gap.

Their presence has been proven to increase pupil attendance, reduce school lateness and help the pupils do better at work.

Over the 2018/19 school year, this initiative reached 3,835 pupils across Aberdeen city and Aberdeenshire, with an estimated 137,160 participations.

AFCCT helped deliver bears to Aberdeen’s children hospital last year<br />Pictured are AFC first-team player Niall McGinn, AFC Community Trust coach Scott Duncan, Heather Beattie (dark hair), and Ena Cromar.<br />Newsline Scotland

In the charity’s impact report, they reported that they made a £10 return for every £1 invested in its football activities.

They added £95m of value to the region as a result of its anchor role in encouraging participation in football and delivering related activities in the region.

Almost £13m of social benefits and £66.3m of healthcare savings are derived from the 71,000 participants involved in the sport and its related programmes in the region.