Sport Aberdeen’s 2019/20 Annual Report has revealed that a staggering 1.4 million people used its facilities in the last financial year while fitness attendance was up by 30,000 visits on the previous year.

Get active members grew by 13% from 2018/19 and the award-winning charity recorded a 26% increase in income generated through ‘Get active’ memberships, with all profit invested back into the people, projects and communities that Sport Aberdeen serves.

Over 260 free memberships were given to looked after children and young people, 672 additional support needs participant visits were recorded by Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports and over 33,000 active lifestyles programme visits were logged; targeted opportunities for everyone regardless of whether you are starting out, recovering from injury, living with a long-term health condition or an older adult.

The highlights reported are underpinned by another year of award successes, which saw the north-east’s largest leisure provider winning in categories recognising excellence in employment, volunteering, capital investment, fitness venues and commitment to the community.

Tony Dawson, Sport Aberdeen Chairman, said:

“I had the privilege of stepping up to lead this brilliant and inspiring charity last September, having served as vice chairman over the previous two years and I have enjoyed every moment since.

“Sport Aberdeen is at the heart of community sport and wellbeing within our city and this body of work, which is just a glimpse into what the charity has achieved, highlights how we continue to create opportunities and change lives through sport and physical activity.

“The continued developments and triumphs are testament to the hard work and dedication of every employee, volunteer and board member. This was reflected in the ‘Staff Matter’ award that was handed to Nickie Scorgie, Head of HR and Organisational Development, at last year’s Northern Star Business Awards, accepted on behalf of everyone who helps to make a difference through sport in Aberdeen.

“Our volunteers were also rightly celebrated last year when we received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest accolade a charity or voluntary group can receive in the UK and yet another tribute underpinning the exceptional work Sport Aberdeen can be proud to have its name against.”

“We have once again worked hard to break down barriers, offering opportunities to participate in physical activity to everyone and continuing to foster sport at all levels within the city. I look forward to another challenging yet inspiring year ahead.”

Alistair Robertson, managing director of Sport Aberdeen, said:

“2019/2020 was not without its challenges, but the resilience of Sport Aberdeen, and all those who work together in our company; employees, volunteers and our board of directors, has enabled us to continue to break down barriers and work towards a healthier city.

“I am extremely proud of the difference that we continue to make to so many people’s lives throughout the city and the north-east. During this period, Sport Aberdeen generated over £7 million in social value through targeted programmes. Converting the work that we carry out into a monetary value brings home the positive impact that our charity has on our varied communities.”

The north-east’s largest physical activity provider has, for the first time since reopening after lockdown, officially reopened the city’s ice rink.

Award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen was also delighted to inform members that extra gym and sports hall provisions will come into play this week, allowing more people to get active in the area.

Among the venues to benefit from the extended opening hours and extra bookable sessions are the Linx Ice Arena, Get active @ Kincorth, Get active @ Beacon, and Get active @ Beach Leisure Centre, which also welcomed back its popular Learn to Swim programme.

Aberdeen’s ice rink officially reopened last Saturday (7 November) after being closed for more than seven months, welcoming back members of the public and Learn to Skate participants.

The team were thrilled to welcome skaters back to Linx Ice Arena at the weekend and the response we have received so far has been extremely positive.

During the closure, Sport Aberdeen staff carried out a comprehensive body of maintenance works which included re-laying the entire ice pad ensuring the best possible experience for skaters upon reopening.

Sport Aberdeen’s gymnastics programme will also restart at Get active @ Beacon this coming Friday (13 November), for the first time since venues were forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic, alongside additional gym sessions at the venue.

David Selkirk, Sport Aberdeen Director of Community Leisure Operations, commented on the good news:

“Being able to extend our opening hours means we can welcome even more people back to sport in the city. Everyone at Sport Aberdeen has worked incredibly hard during this challenging time and the support and understanding we have received from all our customers has been fantastic. The team were thrilled to welcome skaters back to Linx Ice Arena at the weekend and the response we have received so far has been extremely positive.”

A Granite City leisure trust has secured funding to boost awareness and deliver programmes encouraging more people and businesses to use cycling as their main mode of transport in the north-east.

Adventure Aberdeen, part of award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen, has received funding to deliver the ‘Cycling Friendly Employer Award’ throughout the north-east.

This is the third year that the funding has been awarded to Adventure Aberdeen and to date the organisation’s staff have helped over 20 companies achieve the award.

The nationally recognised programme, run by Cycling Scotland, provides an award scheme and funding to help organisations make it easier for their staff to cycle to work. Cycling supports good physical and mental health for staff as well as easing congestion, improves the local environment and enhances corporate social responsibility by reducing the carbon footprint.

Adventure Aberdeen’s venue in Kingswells is a ‘Cycling Friendly Employer Service Centre’ which means any business with an interest in becoming a ‘Cycling Friendly Employer’ is directed to the venue via Cycling Scotland’s website.

Mike Gifford, Adventure Aberdeen Manager, commented on the funding award:

“This is a really exciting opportunity for local companies to get involved in the bike revolution and support their workers in leading a healthier and greener lifestyle while gaining recognition for being a cycling friendly employer.

“It is my hope that in the near future we can work with more organisations to help them become cycling friendly accredited and help to promote a healthier and greener way of commuting within the city whilst encouraging more people to participate in physical activity.”

A local volunteer has been recognised for his hard work and commitment to educating the community in drowning prevention and water safety.

Graham Dutton, an aquatics coordinator with award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen, has been actively involved in lifesaving for over 17 years and received the accolade at the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s (RLSS UK) Honours Ceremony earlier this month for his volunteering efforts.

The Stanley Peck trophy is awarded to a person who does their utmost to carry out the objectives of the society in their local area, in any capacity and is presented to people in the organisation who have carried out work either voluntary or paid, which push the organisations aims to educate and reduce drownings.

Graham has ensured that a number of aquatics safety courses have continued to run within Sport Aberdeen over the last few years and piloted a scheme within a school which saw 16 children achieve the Survive and Save Bronze award.

In the last two years he has chaired the Aberdeen Water Safety Group which was set up as a direct response to a tragic loss of life at the beach. This is a multi-agency group which Graham has a leading role within, delivering drowning prevention to schools and overseeing the installation of new signage along the Aberdeen beachfront.

Graham has also been nominated to receive the RLSS UK Medal of Distinction for his continued volunteering efforts.

Graham said:

“There are so many deserving people across the country who give up their own time to help educate and ultimately prevent water incidents and I am truly honoured to have received this award.

“For me the most important thing is to ensure that that the message of drowning prevention is spread, and the basic but invaluable skills are effectively passed onto each generation.”

“Through working with local leisure trusts such as Sport Aberdeen, we are able to reach more people from different walks of life and ensure that everyone has access to water safety education, something that can save lives and will allow people to enjoy the sport of swimming with more confidence.”

Sport Aberdeen Chairman Tony Dawson has officially reopened the city’s snowsports centre following a body of refurbishment works ahead the busy winter season.

Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports, part of award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen, was officially reopened today (Wednesday 14 October) after being closed for six months due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

In celebration the venue’s reactivation, and the upgrade works completed during the closure, Mr Dawson marked the occasion with the unveiling of a plaque at the Garthdee venue.

A significant body of improvement work has taken place during the lockdown including deep cleaning, path drainage, surface improvements and internal and external painting.

The city’s only dry ski slopes were also given an extra refresh last month with all five being officially renamed by the public, with top competition entries chosen as winners.

Tony Dawson, Sport Aberdeen Chairman said:

“Everyone has been extremely busy behind the scenes, working on the venue improvements and ensuring Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports is ready for everyone’s safe return to the popular city spot.

“I am delighted to be officially celebrating the reopening and upgrades today and I know that our members and customers are eager to get back to the slopes and make the most of this great offering right on our doorstep.”

Tony Dawson, Sport Aberdeen Chairman

“It is my hope that the improvements will help to encourage even more people to take to the slopes, whether they are dusting off their equipment and getting in some practice ahead of the winter season or trying the sports we offer here for the very first time. From the challenging Great White slope to the popular tubing slope, there is something for people of all ages and abilities.

“The last few months have been challenging for the leisure industry as a whole, and on behalf of everyone at Sport Aberdeen I would like to thank our members for the fantastic show of support we’ve received. We are now all very much looking forward to seeing the slopes come alive once again!”

Granite City residents have played their part in celebrating the reopening of Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports by renaming the city’s only dry ski slopes.

A competition to think up new names for each of the five slopes was opened last week and winners have now been chosen. The triumphant entrants were announced on Sport Aberdeen’s social media channels yesterday (Tuesday 15 September).

After being closed for six months due to Covid-19, the popular venue, run by registered charity Sport Aberdeen, will open its doors again on Monday 21 September.

A body of improvement works has taken place at the Garthdee venue during lockdown and all five dry ski slopes have now been gifted a brand-new name.

All entrants whose suggestions have been selected as the winning names will each receive a free family ski session at Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports.

Karla Richterova (left), who was selected as one of the winners with the name ‘Blizzard’ and Eleanor Wright (right), Customer Services & Operations Assistant at Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports.

Going forward, the dry ski slopes will now be known as:

  • Little Dee (Nursery Slope)
  • Tubey McTubeface (Tubing Slope)
  • Emerald (Green Denxix Slope)
  • Blizzard (White Dendix Slope)
  • Great White (Alpine Slope)

Graeme Dale, Sport Aberdeen Head of Sport and Active Communities said:
“Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the competition. We had so many brilliant and quirky suggestions sent though, and we all had a very tough job trying to select only five new names. The response was great and now we are just looking forward to reopening Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports after being shut for so long.

“The last few months have been challenging for everyone and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back to sport in the city. We have some fantastic facilities on our doorstep, and I am personally looking forward to sending our first customers down Tubey McTubeface next Monday!”

Registered charity Sport Aberdeen has been announced as a finalist for the Northern Star Business Awards, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s celebration of business success across the region.

The local leisure trust has been shortlisted as a finalist in the ‘Making the Difference’ category, in recognition of the positive impacts on the Aberdeen community through the work of the charity.

Organised by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC), the Northern Star Business Awards recognise the exceptional accomplishments of organisations across a range of fields from innovation, marketing and sustainability to people development and international growth.

Sport Aberdeen is committed to creating opportunities for everyone to take part in sport and has one simple goal; to get more people active, regardless of barriers such as cost, age, ability and gender.

By delivering targeted community initiatives for adults and children with additional support needs, care experienced and looked after young people and people who are experiencing long term and/or life limiting health conditions, Sport Aberdeen ensures that everyone has equal access to sport and physical activity in the north-east.

In the last year the charity:

  • Gave over 260 free Sport Aberdeen memberships to Looked After Children;
  • Had 672 additional support needs participant visits recorded by Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports;
  • Generated £7.5M in social value.

Graeme Dale, Sport Aberdeen Head of Sport and Active Communities, said:

“The last five months have highlighted how important it is for everyone to look after their mental and physical health and it is our belief that leading a physically active life can positively impact everyone. 

This is something that we champion, and we strive to deliver community led programmes which reach everyone, creating opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and circumstances to participate in sport.

This is something that we champion, and we strive to deliver community led programmes which reach everyone, creating opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and circumstances to participate in sport.

Graeme Dale, Head of Sport & Active Communities

“We are thrilled to be shortlisted as a finalist against so many deserving charities and organisations, highlighting all of the hard work that individuals and businesses put in across the north-east. The Northern Star Business Awards ceremony is always a brilliant night and we are very much looking forward to the event next year.”

This year saw a record number of nominations submitted for the 12 categories. Winners of the 17th annual awards, held in association with principal sponsor Nucore Group, will be unveiled during a glittering black-tie ceremony at P&J Live on March 11, 2021.

A Sport Aberdeen volunteer who gave up over 1,000 hours of his own time to help inspire others was selected as a finalist for a prestigious national award.

Former Orchard Brae pupil Alex Soaris said he was “totally thrilled” to make it as a finalist in the Outstanding Volunteer(s) category at this year’s Community Leisure UK Awards.

The national awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of charities and social enterprises in public leisure and culture and winners were announced online this year due to Covid-19.

Alex was recognised for his commitment and dedication after he “helped to shape the future for additional support schools and their pupils” through his volunteer work with Sport Aberdeen’s Active Schools programme.

Having started as lunchtime helper, Alex progressed further and successfully went through the coach recruitment process, securing a role as a Holiday Camp Leader with Sport Aberdeen, the first pupil from an additional support needs school to take on a coaching role with the charity and an incredible achievement.

Commenting on Alex’s achievements, Graeme Dale, Sport Aberdeen Head of Sport and Active Communities said:

“Alex is a trailblazer, not only due to his volunteering but also in helping us develop an additional support needs programme which has created new and exciting pathways into participation and future employment. His hard work, dedication and enthusiasm has allowed him to overcome barriers and excel in this role.

“For the pupils of Orchard Brae Alex is a fantastic role model. An ex-pupil who has worked incredibly hard to be given the responsibility to now coach them and has already motivated a senior pupil to get involved in volunteering.

“Without Alex’s commitment it would be almost impossible for Active Schools, part of Sport Aberdeen, to run so many Extra Curricular clubs for additional support needs pupils at Orchard Brae. His energy and enthusiasm have helped to shape the clubs, encouraging the children and their families to return again and again.”

Alex commented:

“I’m very proud to be chosen as a finalist for this award. The support Sport Aberdeen has given me has allowed me to become more confident with my leadership skills and specifically my coaching with young children. I hope to be able to continue to improve my coaching and give more opportunities for children to be active.”

Sport Aberdeen has become the first in the city to sign up to the ‘Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme’, a free bike repair and maintenance service funded by the Scottish Government and delivered through Cycling UK.

Adventure Aberdeen, part of the award-winning charity, recently launched its new in-house bike maintenance service and will now be offering limited free places, alongside its full offering, to those who may not usually have access to these services.

The charity has secured funding through the ‘Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme’ which aims to remove barriers such as cost while encouraging active travel; allowing more people to take part in cycling through access to free bike maintenance. 

The Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme offers free cycle repair and maintenance up to the value of £50 per person and welcomes all cycles; adult’s and children’s bikes, e-bikes and non-standard cycles (tandems, tricycles, handcycles and side-by-side cycles).

Repair and maintenance work will take place at Adventure Aberdeen Kingswells. Details of how to book your place and a full list of services available, with prices, can be found here.

Graeme Dale, Sport Aberdeen Head of Sport and Active Communities said:

“Giving everyone in Aberdeen access to cycle maintenance is an extremely positive step towards seeing more people, of all ages and abilities, take part in physical activity and I hope that our new offering, and the scheme, will be widely used. 

“Whether you are a budding cyclist, just starting out or have rediscovered a love for the sport during the lockdown, it is our hope that by enabling, and encouraging, more people to participate in safe cycling we can play our part in creating a healthier and greener Aberdeen.”

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