One club, one city.
That is the mantra at the heart of Aberdeen and its community trust, which has been to try bring some positivity to the front doors of those who need it most.
With the coronavirus lockdown in place across the United Kingdom, the AFCCT have teamed up with CFINE (Community Food Initiatives North East) to generate donations, provide food packages and deliver them to those most vulnerable at this stressful team.
Liz Bowie, the trust’s chief executive, has been on the delivery runs herself and seen the positive impact the work is having. Communities are being brought closer together with every single drop-off.
“We’re trying to deliver food every single day of the working week,” she said. “I did some on Wednesday last week and you phone the people in advance to tell them you’re pulling up; they’re so grateful and we’ve had some great correspondence from people via phone or email afterwards. One lady said we were a godsend and a real weight off her mind.
“Some people have got large numbers of children. Just making sure they’re fed and looked after is massively important..
“These are families we’ve worked with through the schools. A lot of them come for morning breakfast with us and then after school clubs. Over the holiday period they would come to camps with us as well.
“They’re children that have a relationship with the community trust but now we’re getting involved with their families as well.
“It’s about working with the community and raising their aspirations and get the full potential out of people. In times like this, everyone comes together and it’s one of the positives you can take out of this – people are coming together and making sure they support everyone in the community.”
As part of the outreach, phone calls from players, ex-players and staff members have been given to vulnerable season-ticket holders. Understandably these have proven popular, with Joe Lewis, Shay Logan, Andy Considine, Tony Docherty and Neil Simpson among those getting involved.
“It’s been such a boost,” added Bowie. “You see the existing players getting involved, Dave Cormack has been on the phone to people. It’s just a very unexpected surprise, to have one of these people to pick up the phone, take the time and care.
“It involves people taking time out of their day just to have that little bit of human interaction and compassion. It’s really uplifting for people just to get something different come into their world, from a player who they maybe look up to or a player from the past they have always admired.
We have been getting support from some famous faces and voices to help drive awareness towards our #StillStandingFree food drive in partnership @CFINEAberdeen delivering to the most vulnerable people in Aberdeen. Here is @RaeComm
We need your Support!:https://t.co/iy9ELysTnY pic.twitter.com/N2UBrIqz4S
— AFC Community Trust (@AFCCT) March 31, 2020
“I’ve always said it’s one club, one city. It’s at the heart of this city and it has that ability to galvanise support and bring people together. It’s great for all charity to see what that power can be.
“For us, it’s to get this campaign going in earnest and reach out to 12,000 people. That’s quite an undertaking. Our focus is really on getting that up and running and powering ahead. I’d like to say a massive thank you to the supporters of the football club and the community trust, and to the people of Aberdeen and greater Aberdeenshire for getting behind what we’re doing.
“It just gives everyone a boost to get that feedback and know we’re making a difference out there.”
The justgiving page that was set up to generate for the #StillStandingFree programme has, including gift aid, generated more than £10,000 since its inception. It is helping the trust and CFINE stay on the roads and continue to provide a valuable service for those who may be housebound.
Bowie added: “It’s remarkable. Again, a massive thank you to people who are stepping up to the plate. The messages we’re getting along with their financial contributions are really uplifting. People at this end are putting in a lot of effort and long hours – those messages and donations give everyone a bit of encouragement.
“From everything you hear, it’s very uncertain. I think we’re going to be in this for the long haul. We need people to dig deep, the need is huge, so please give us your support.”