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AFC named Community club of Europe

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Well done to all those involved  :thumbsup:


Dementia Friendly Programme recognised at European Club Association awards


An Aberdeen FC Community Trust (AFCCT) programme has been named the best in Europe, triumphing over eight top football clubs including Inter Milan, Lyon, Villarreal, Manchester City and Everton.


AFCCT was announced as the winner of the Best Community and Social Responsibility Programme Award for the Trust's Dementia Friendly Programme at the European Club Association awards in Geneva this week.


Established in 2010, the awards aim to reward outstanding club performances, encourage best practice and highlight successful club management, with AS Monaco and Real Madrid also recognised at the event.


The Best Community and Social Responsibility Programme Award was judged by an independent panel with representatives from UEFA, the European Football for Development Network (EFDN) and previous winners, PSV Eindhoven.


Hubert Rovers, chief executive officer of EFDN presented Aberdeen FC with the award and congratulated them for their outstanding CSR Programme.


He said: "Across Europe, most football clubs primarily focus their community programmes on youth initiatives. However, the Dementia Friendly Programme from Aberdeen FC focuses on an often-neglected demographic in those affected by dementia, such as the elderly.


"The club has identified the need to support dementia sufferers both mentally and physically. They are a frontrunner in the development of this innovative approach and can serve as best practice to inspire other clubs to carry out similar projects."


Attracting more than 100 participants each week, AFCCT's Dementia Friendly Programme includes activities designed to increase mobility and social inclusion, as well as reducing isolation and anxieties for those living with the illness.


The initiative includes football memories sessions where ex-players take the opportunity to present memorabilia to participants and talk about previous matches and experiences, as well physical activities, such as the popular walking football and TechnoGym classes.


The Trust has also organised afternoon discos following feedback from participants stating concerns about the lack of opportunity to get out socially or not feeling comfortable doing so.


AFCCT delivers its Dementia Friendly Programmes with support from key partners including Life Changes Trust, Alzheimer's Scotland, Aberdeen Sports Village, Sport Aberdeen and Aberdeen City Council Health and Wellbeing Team.


Ally Prockter, Aberdeen FC Community Trust's chief executive said: "The ECA awards are known as 'The Champion's League' of tournaments for football club Trust's, so to pick up the top award for CSR programme in Europe is a massive achievement for us.


"AFCCT is committed to listening to local people and meeting the needs of the community. As the number of people affected by dementia in the North-east continues to rise, we try to provide support to these individuals and take away the stigma that they can't lead an active and social life.


"This award is the result of a lot of hard-work from AFCCT's staff and volunteers and our partners who work tirelessly to provide the absolute best workshops and activities for participants, and I would like to thank each of them for their efforts."


Despite the huge amount of work being delivered to communities across the North-east, AFCCT has very limited facilities at Pittodrie.


Fit for purpose facilities to support the development of the charity are a key element of the Club's plans to develop a £50million football and community sports hub at Kingsford, near Westhill.


If the plans are given the go-ahead, the first phase of development would see the construction of a dedicated community sports hub and professional training pitches with associated facilities.


As well as providing a home for the award-winning AFCCT, local community groups would also be able to access and benefit from the facilities.


Ally added: "While we're incredibly grateful to the club for all its support, we don't have sufficient space at the stadium or any kind of sporting or classroom facilities to call our own, which can make delivering many projects extremely challenging.


"The opportunity to move to Kingsford is very exciting for us and would provide an inspirational setting to continue our work and reach even more individuals in communities, not just in the city but across the entire North-east."


Aberdeen Football Club's plans for the 25-hectare site at Kingsford, near Westhill, would see the construction of the largest new-build stadium in Scotland in 100 years and are seen as a critical step in AFC's bid to achieve UEFA top 100 status.


The proposals are expected to be considered by Aberdeen City Council in October. For details of how to support the Aurora campaign, visit www.afc.co.uk/Aurora and use #AllForAurora on social media.

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