Aberdeen FC receives ECA CSR Award 2017 – Congratulations!

5 September 2017

Aberdeen FC receives ECA CSR Award 2017 – Congratulations!

Yesterday, on Monday 4th of September, the ECA CSR Award was presented in Geneva, Switzerland. The ECA Award is an opportunity to reward an outstanding club-driven CSR project from one of the ECA member clubs. 

This year, nine clubs were shortlisted for the Award of the “Best Community and Social Responsibility programme”: KAA Gent, GNK Dinamo, Everton FC, Villarreal CF, Manchester City FC, Olympique Lyonnais, FC Internazionale Milano, Feyenoord Rotterdam and Aberdeen FC.
EFDN was proud to recognise that 5 of the shortlisted programmes are being delivered from members of the European Football for Development Network. For that reason, it was an even greater honour for EFDN’s CEO Hubert Rovers to present this year’s ECA CSR Award.

Aberdeen FC with “Best Community & Social Responsibility Programme”

Hubert Rovers was proud to announce on Monday evening that the Award winner was Aberdeen FC with their programme “Dementia Friendly Wellbeing”.  A programme, which hopefully will inspire many more clubs to develop similar projects with such fantastic outcomes.
Aberdeen FC has managed to develop an outstanding encompassing programme, which supports elderlies, who are left isolated. The club has identifies that European society is rapid ageing and offers through the Dementia Friendly Wellbeing Programme innovative support for elderlies, which makes Aberdeen FC a front-runner in the field of shaping, supporting, and promoting dementia friendly communities.

“Dementia Friendly Wellbeing Programme”

Across Europe, football clubs focus primarily on youth football initiatives. Aberdeen FC looks to support all demographics of the communities of the North East, especially the elderly, who are often left isolated and neglected. Through active ageing activities, the need to support those living with dementia and Carers was clear, as well as the need for the raising awareness of this global issue that affects so many people locally. Working in partnership across the three sectors, the club is committed to shaping, supporting, and promoting dementia friendly communities across the north east as well as nationally.

The main objectives:

  • Support those affected by dementia to take part in activities that matter to them, by involving those with dementia in decision making, planning, and evaluating.
  • Build AFC’s capacity and that of the wider community to meet the needs of people with dementia and carers by increasing skills, experience and knowledge through education.
  • Inform wider public awareness and policy in relation to dementia and Carers.

Aberdeen FC – the programme

Entering year 3 of the project, Aberdeen FC has significantly increased the quantity and quality of Dementia Friendly activity sessions on offer across the North East of Scotland. Before this project, there was no collaborative approach to offering Dementia Friendly activity sessions. This partnership works with organisations from across the three sectors to ensure those living with dementia could take part in meaningful activity despite the diagnosis. These sessions are not ‘dementia only’ but dementia friendly. This means that people living with dementia are involved in the local community, and supported to do so with staff ad members of the public understanding of the challenges being faced. People with dementia don’t want to be segregated, they want to interact with their friends, build new relationships, feel valued, have a voice, and most importantly feel accepted. From 0 to 26 weekly sessions offered in the first year, and enhanced again in year 2, covering a 100 mile radius throughout urban and rural settings, the project has been a huge success.

The programmes are supported by numerous organisations from the public and private sector and third parties. A cooperation led by Aberdeen FC.
Prior to this project, Aberdeen FC engaged with 21 people living with dementia or carers. Now, through this project, Aberdeen FC directly engage with and support 200+ people living with dementia or Carers weekly.
The impact of the sessions cannot be under estimated for the person with dementia and the family/Carer. One family told Aberdeen FC of the impact this project has had on them;

“Dad loves attending walking football – he likes being part of a team who are all good to him, and he likes to come home from the session and tell all of his stories”. After playing on the pitch at half time of an Aberdeen FC SPFL match, in front of 15,000 people, he said “He has never had so much fun since having dementia”. His daughter added “The difference to dad really is like night and day. He is so happy and fulfilled after attending and that feeling lasts. His co-ordination, communication, physical health and confidence has all improved. The group keeps him engaged and stimulates his him and this has had a big impact on the behavioural aspects which arise from his type of dementia i.e. agitation, restlessness. Attending such a meaningful activity has greatly reduced his feeling of isolation and to have a role in the local community”. She also said “when your dad gets a diagnosis like this, overnight you go from being his daughter to his Carer, and I miss that relationship. But when he comes home saying he scored 9 goals, regardless of the fact the story has been fabricated, for a while I go back to being his daughter and he is my dad again”.

Congratulations Aberdeen FC !



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