Elaine Farquharson-Black insists the chance to use sport as a mechanism to help the community made her decision to accept the invitation to join the board of trustees of Aberdeen FC Community Trust an easy one.
Former professional golfer Farquharson-Black, who played and captained Great Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup, has been involved with the Dons as part of her legal work with Brodies, where she he is head of housebuilding and co-head of planning.
Farquharson-Black said: “I particularly like the fact we are using sport to do it given my own sporting background.
“There’s a lot of work being done with adult groups too.
“The Trust has done great work with dementia sufferers by hosting football memories sessions and I’ve been involved in a golfing memories one at Deeside which is also run by the Trust.
“I attended the first session which was great.
“We’re using the name of the football club to benefit the wider community and that’s something I’m keen to get involved.
“There are a lot of fans who support the club and the Trust is a powerful way to give back to those in the community.”
New trustee has a long association with the Dons
A Dons fan and supporter of AFFCT, Farquharson-Black’s association with the club stretches back to her childhood where her father Colin was former sports editor at the Press and Journal.
She said: “I’m the planning lawyer for all the stadium work at the club, whether it was Kingsford or Loirston, so I’ve been involved in that sense for a while.
“Growing up when my dad was the sports editor too, I remember Saturday afternoons in the Dons shop in Nelson Street so I suppose I have a long affinity with the club.
“In working with the club the Trust was a big part of the planning process for Cormack Park so I worked a lot with (former Trust chairman) Duncan Skinner and (chief executive) Liz Bowie.
“It was Liz who asked if I would be willing to come on board as a trustee and I said yes.
“The Trust has the education aspect and there is the football health and wellbeing too.
“Going into schools and helping with the curriculum for excellence, and trying to give a positive messaging for children who maybe don’t have the same advantages as others resonates with me and the firm here at Brodies.
“It’s very much in keeping with our own initiatives as a company and chimes with me personally.”
‘Trust is more than football’
AFCCT came to prominence with its work in the community during the Covid pandemic and Farquharson-Black has been impressed at how extensive it continues to be today.
She said: “Due to the work I’ve done with the club I’ve been able to see the work the Trust does and I remember being surprised myself that it is so much more than running breakfast clubs or pre-school, after-school or Saturday morning football clubs.
“It is going in and helping teachers and pupils, and getting involved in education. I’m not sure a lot of people are aware they go into the schools and actually teach the children.
“You saw the Trust’s value to the community particularly during Covid. They had been doing great work beforehand but the pandemic really brought their work into sharp focus.”
Farquharson-Black will be a huge asset for the board
AFCCT chief executive Bowie believes new trustee Farquharson-Black will be a huge asset for the board.
Bowie said: “We are delighted to have Elaine join the board of AFC Community Trust. Elaine has a long history of working with Aberdeen FC and is a great supporter of the work of the Trust.
“We know that Elaine will be a tremendous addition given her wealth of experience and prominence within the north-east.
“She will undoubtedly help to raise the profile of our work across the region as we continue to maximise the potential of our local communities.”
The AFC Community Trust board now comprises Geoff Aberdein, Farquharson-Black, Jim Buchan, Barry Duncan (interim chair), Gordon Edwards, Neil Hendry (Interim Vice Chair), Emma Stephen, Rob Wicks and Mark Wilson.