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.”

Residents at Tor-Na-Dee Care Home participate in regular physical activity throughout the year and have taken part in the Golden Games for the last five years.

Staff have worked to bring the Golden Games to the care home this year after the event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring that everyone can take part in a fun, active and inclusive activity, benefitting both mental and physical health.

It has been particularly important to keep the residents motivated during the lockdown; with no visitors allowed to ensure the safety of everyone, regular exercise has been keeping everyone active and entertained.

The Golden Games, delivered by a range of citywide partners and organisations, usually takes pace in June offering older adults the chance to take part in a wide range of activities completely free of charge. This year would have marked the 10th anniversary of the event.

On behalf of the Golden Games steering group, Sport Aberdeen Healthy Communities Manager Andrinne Craig said:

“On behalf of everyone involved in the Golden Games I would like to congratulate the staff and residents at Tor-Na-Dee Care Home for embracing the ethos of the games during the Covid-19 pandemic, and we look forward to welcoming them to the 10th Golden Games in due course.

“Now more than ever before it is important to look after our physical and mental wellbeing and we would encourage all of our participants to follow this great example and remain active where possible.

“Anyone looking for inspiration at this time can find it for free on the Sport Aberdeen website through online workout cards, exercise class videos and weekly top-tips from Sport Aberdeen’s Healthy Communities team.”

Louise Argo, Wellbeing Coordinator at Aberdeen Health and Social Care Partnership, said:

“I have been a member of the Golden Games steering group for three years now and can honestly say it’s the highlight of my working year. Seeing older adults embrace new challenges and breakdown stereotypes is so inspiring.

“A highlight for me is the care home pentathlon which sees residents of various care homes compete for the coveted trophy. Everyone leaves with a medal, a smile and a sense of achievement.

“We need to keep moving regardless of our age and the wonderful Golden Games allows this to happen. Looking forward to rescheduling the games for a time our older adults will need it the most.”

Anna Phillips, Lifestyle Coordinator at Tor-Na-Dee Care Home, said:

“We take part in the games every year and they have always been much enjoyed and appreciated. What makes them special is that we get to be with other homes in joyful competition. The competitive element brings the best out in our residents and of course that they get to bring back a medal to show for it. I think the Wellbeing team has done well adjusting to different budgets and venues. We are sorry to miss them this year.”

Partners look forward to getting together later in the year to plan for the next Golden Games event and will release further details as soon as possible.

Golf Aberdeen, part of award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen, is set to reopen the city’s four public golf courses after Scotland’s First Minister confirmed on Thursday that some outdoor activities, including golf, can resume operating.

The MacKenzie Championship, Hazlehead Pines, Balnagask and the Kings Links will all reopen on Friday 29th May, following more than two months of closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Alistair Robertson, Sport Aberdeen Managing Director, commented:

“The news that we have the go-ahead to reopen Golf Aberdeen for business is very warmly welcomed and I am thrilled to be easing some of our services out of the enforced lockdown. Our loyal members will be delighted, as we know how frustrating the closure has been, especially with the great weather we have had. Our green keepers have been working incredibly hard to ensure that the courses will be ready, and they are in fantastic condition, with many people stating that they are in the best condition seen in decades.”

The Golf Aberdeen team has been busy behind the scenes and a lot of preparation has gone into ensuring that golf will operate safely in the current circumstances. The organisation is asking all golfers to be aware of the new stringent protocols that have had to be put in place to comply with social distancing, and all courses will operate under the new guidelines and operating procedures. It is important that all golfers check these out before planning to play.

This will include changes to the booking process, with bookings to be made in advance through the Golf Aberdeen online booking service, and pre-paid if not a Golf Aberdeen member. A limit of two-balls will apply, with 10-minute playing intervals.

Full details on how to book golf and play safely are being issued to members, with full details also available on the Sport Aberdeen website. Booking will open to Golf Aberdeen and Sport Aberdeen Get Active 5 members from Tuesday 26th May and to casual pay and play customers from Friday 29th May. Further information can be found at www.sportaberdeen.co.uk

Robertson added, “I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has, and continues to, support Sport Aberdeen through the coronavirus outbreak. The anticipation from our golf members on the courses reopening has been amazing, and based on the levels of enquiry already received, I anticipate a very busy few days. We can’t wait.”

The First Minister has confirmed that golf will be included in Phase One of the Scottish Government’s plan to ease current restrictions, and that implementing Phase One is expected to be possible after 28 May.

We are therefore delighted to announce that the MacKenzie Championship Course, Hazlehead Pines, Balnagask and the Kings Links will all reopen on Friday 29 May.

Online booking will open to Golf Aberdeen and Sport Aberdeen Get Active 5 members from Tuesday 26 May and to casual pay-and-play customers from Friday 29 May.  

Become a member

Full details on booking procedures and golfing protocols will be issued to members and shared on the Sport Aberdeen website on Monday 25 May.

We can’t wait to welcome you back to Golf Aberdeen!

Thousands of school children from across Aberdeen would have been gearing up for the city’s largest free sporting extravaganza this week, marking the 7th annual Aberdeen Youth Games (AYG).

The event is a citywide initiative developed in partnership with registered charity Sport Aberdeen’s Active Schools team, Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the North East Scotland College (NESCol) with ongoing support from The Wood Foundation.  

Over 200 student coaches were set to deliver activities in primary schools, culminating in the Festival of Health at the Aberdeen Sports Village which would have taken place today (22 May).

The 2020 primary programme kicked off at a launch event held at RGU in March, after last year saw a record-breaking number of pupils take part. However, this year’s finale has sadly been cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

This event followed on from a hugely successful secondary youth games programme that deployed RGU students into secondary schools and hosted a festival where over 400 pupils took part in five different sports earlier in the year.

Olympic gold medallist Dr Katherine Grainger CBE and Chairman of The Wood Foundation, Sir Ian Wood CBE, have been amongst the AYG ambassadors since its launch in 2014.

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

“The initiative has become a hugely anticipated and enjoyable event in Aberdeen’s school sporting calendar, and it underlines the importance of keeping young people active in a fun environment whilst giving students invaluable experience.

“We are proud to continue working with RGU and NESCol to deliver the games and the effort which the Active Schools team put in to help foster a culture of physical activity amongst young people in the city is admirable. Thanks to the continuing support of The Wood Foundation, the Aberdeen Youth Games will return next year and the partnership will now use this time to start planning on how 2021 can be the best yet.

“In the meantime, I would encourage everyone to keep an eye on the Sport Aberdeen website and social channels where you can find a multitude of free resources aimed at keeping young people healthy, active and motivated during this challenging time.”

Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of The Wood Foundation, said:

“The Aberdeen Youth Games ‘Festival of Sport’ is always a wonderful day and a great opportunity to see so many young people come together to enjoy sport.

“What’s more important is that healthy lifestyles and exercise are essential for physical and mental wellbeing. Schools have a vital role to play in this area and can be well supported in this through partnerships like this.

“Unfortunately, this event is yet another casualty of Covid-19 and it is sad we’re missing this year’s programme. However, we are pleased to be in a position to realign our funding to delivery in 2021 and will once again enjoy what is an outstanding day in our philanthropic calendar.”

Thomas Craig, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science RGU, said:

“Robert Gordon University has a long standing and valued relationship with Sport Aberdeen, NESCol and The Wood Foundation which culminates every year in the Aberdeen Youth Games. We are understandably disappointed that this year it was not possible to complete the Aberdeen Youth Games.

“We would again like to thank our partners for the experience they provided our students on the preparatory build up, which was once again exceptional.

“We look forward to next year where our students can reciprocate this through the placement opportunities that lead to a successful Aberdeen Youth Games, whilst creating a lasting positive impact on the children and young people of Aberdeen.”

Neil Tattersal, Curriculum Manager for Sport at North East Scotland College, said:

“The Aberdeen Youth Games have become a massive part of the community sporting calendar for the city and something all of our students look forward to supporting every year.

“More than 200 NESCol students from a range of sports courses normally attend this event and share their passion and enthusiasm for sport with the participants. Events like this illustrate the positive impact sport has on the local community. By working together with Active Schools and RGU to deliver the Youth Games we can encourage more children to get more active more often.”

Although the citywide event has been put on hold this year, registered charity Sport Aberdeen has been working hard to produce an online programme of free resources, aimed at encouraging children to remain active while schools and extracurricular activities remain on hold.

Get active @ Home Junior is an online hub of free resources, ideas and challenges specifically designed for children and families; helping to keep everyone active whilst schools and extracurricular activities are on hold due to the ongoing pandemic.

Registered charity Sport Aberdeen has donated items to north-east charity and social enterprise Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) in the hope of reaching those most in need in the area.

Sport Aberdeen has donated perishable food and drink items that were held within its citywide venues to CFINE and will continue to do so, ensuring that the goods reach those most in need during this challenging time.

The charity is also holding stock of sanitary items provided by CFINE, as part of a previous initiative in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and the Scottish Government to tackle period poverty, which will be passed back to them to allow the social enterprise to distribute care packages of this nature.

David Selkirk, Sport Aberdeen Director of Community Leisure Operations, said:

“Sport Aberdeen is a community driven charity and now more than ever it is so important to pull together and offer assistance wherever possible, as we are all in this together. 

“We will continue to work closely with CFINE to help support anyone in need and are exploring other opportunities where we can offer our assistance where it is most needed.

“I would encourage anyone who is able to donate items to do so. During these difficult times Aberdeen’s local communities have shown incredible resilience and a true sense of coming together and this is something we can all be extremely proud of.”

Lisa Duthie, CFINE Chief Executive, said:

“CFINE is grateful for the generosity of Sport Aberdeen. The highly useful donations will be put to good use to help those self-isolated individuals and families who are food insecure.

“The continued support of our donors, funders, partners and volunteers enable us to remain true to our mission, tackling poverty, during these unusual times.

“We are experiencing a significant increase in the demand for CFINE’s support services. We are delivering 1,000 emergency food parcels weekly with the help of our partners; therefore, support of any kind is much appreciated.”

Sport Aberdeen has delivered over 2,000 kg worth of exercise equipment to local customers to help keep the community active during these challenging times.

The registered charity has loaned exercise equipment to as many customers as possible while its citywide venues are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 150 customers will have equipment delivered to them over the coming days, just one of the moves the charity is making to keep people active whilst remaining safe and at home.

Over 80 body pump kits, 100 steps, 700kg of dumbbells, kettlebells and slam balls are among the items being loaned out and delivered direct to customers doors, in line with social distancing guidelines.

Sport Aberdeen received huge interest in the equipment loan scheme and has allocated items to as many customers as possible on a first come first served basis. The charity is also posting at-home workouts through its social media channels with most classes requiring no equipment at all, ensuring that everyone can remain active at this challenging time.

David Selkirk, Sport Aberdeen Director of Community Leisure Operations commented:

“The interest we received in the loan scheme was incredible and we have allocated items to as many customers as we possibly could, but due to the sheer number of applications we simply couldn’t fulfil every request.  

“We are doing what we can at this difficult time to engage with the community and help keep our customers active and motivated with online workouts and we have seen a brilliant uptake in people joining the Sport Aberdeen virtual running club on Strava.

“Whilst the interest in the equipment loan scheme has been fantastic, the vast majority of our online workouts requires no equipment at all”

Natalie Newlands, a regular at Sport Aberdeen’s Get active @ Jesmond gym, said:

“I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Sport Aberdeen for supporting the community and helping us all to stay active in this challenging time. I am so grateful for the loan of this equipment, this will make a huge difference to keeping me healthy and motivate me on my workouts every day! 

“All the staff and especially the Health and Wellness Coordinators have put in a lot of hard work and effort in organising and delivering the equipment. They are always making sure their members are happy and are an asset to Sport Aberdeen!”

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