Two charities to share in a bumper prize fund
Two Aberdeen charities are set to share in £50,000 thanks to the Aberdeen International Airport Community Panel.
A record number of groups applied to be part of the ‘Trust Challenge Fund’ late last year, a dedicated pot of money to be spent over and above the regular airport charitable donations. It was hoped that projects would come forward who could turn this donation into something aspirational.
After much deliberation, two projects have emerged successful, one to transform an old play area in Torry into a community green space, and another run by the YMCA to support disengaged and unemployed young people in Aberdeen.
The two applicants will each get £25,000 towards their initiative, after their applications were successfully scrutinised by the central LHR Airports Communities Trust.
The first of the chosen applications was from the Aberdeen Play Forum, and will allow them to redevelop Girdleness Road Park. The park itself is around 50 years old and this donation will allow for it to be totally rejuvenated. It will be fitted with new play equipment, natural and educational features will be installed, and it will be turned into a hub for the nearby community. It is hoped that this development will not only improve the physical health of the many children that live in the area but will also provide social and health benefits for their families who can all enjoy a fresh and inviting outdoor space.
Soozy Lai is from the Aberdeen Play Forum and she was delighted to hear they had secured the much needed funds. “This is truly fantastic news. Outdoor play is absolutely vital for the healthy development of all children. With the recent budget cuts, unfortunately many small parks have taken a hit. Families without gardens rely on local green spaces to take their children to play. The park on Girdleness Road has become so run down that it is no longer an appealing place for children to play. Torry has a wealth of passionate and organised community volunteers who have shown strong support for this project. Aberdeen City Council have are also giving a great deal of support to the project and will be working with Aberdeen Greenspace to deliver the transformative work. We also have to thank Shell for funding the Aberdeen Play Forum to work in Torry – this is a project of many partners! There are many young families living close to the park which will benefit significantly from this funding – we are all incredibly delighted and would like to thank Aberdeen International Airport’s Panel for supporting this valuable project.”
The second project to benefit from the substantial donation is the YMCA, for their work on a project called Maklab. This is a space to encourage people to make things. It has an emphasis on the creation of a low cost high quality digital printing process, also known as 3D printing, which will be used to give youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds a chance to get skills and qualifications. It would provide service users with entry level training in 3D printing, a virtually waste-free form of manufacturing, thus also reducing their impact on the environment. That, coupled with promotion of a “circular economy model” (where products are designed with a specific focus on how they can be reused) will give disengaged young people in the city the training and experience they need in the long term.
Ian Marr is the YMCA Chief Executive. “We are absolutely delighted to receive this generous award from Aberdeen International Airport Community Panel. This gives an enormous boost to our work in creating Maklab which will be an exciting, innovative and unique resource in Aberdeen.”
Lewis MacDonald MSP sits on the airport panel. Commenting on the successful applicants he said: “People in Aberdeen and the North East come up with some great projects, and these are the pick of a very good bunch. The emphasis on young people and children in these awards this year is spot-on. They are the future, and these innovative projects are well worth backing in this way. I am delighted for YMCA, who are breaking new ground, and for the young people who will learn new skills through this award. The kids in Tullos will be very happy too!”
Sarah Rochester is the airport panel chair. “I never fail to be amazed by the wide variety of different initiatives that are happening for the good of the North-east. To be in a position to make dreams like these come true is very satisfying and I look forward to working with both groups as they get their ideas off the ground.”
Work is due to begin on both projects in the coming months.