Aberdeen FC Community Trust (AFCCT) is setting up a legacy fund in memory of its former chairman, Duncan Skinner, who tragically lost his year‐long battle with cancer in April 2021, with the goal of reaching £100,000.
Kick‐started with £20,000, donated by Mr Skinner earlier this year, and a major contribution from CNR International, the “Brighter Futures” fund will support the Trust’s work with young people, including a year‐long programme to transform the lives of those aged between 14 and 18, and beyond into education and employment.
Delivered by AFCCT, the Youth Ambassador programme will give young people the chance to gain essential life experiences, skills and qualifications, otherwise not available to them. The programme will improve their chances of securing employment and reaching their full potential.
Each young person on the programme will be supported in setting goals and then developing the skills and qualifications required to reach those, through meaningful learning, work experiences and volunteering through the Trust. These volunteering experiences, in particular, will further the reach of the programme into support for the wider community.
Lynn Carter, partnership and business development manager at AFCCT, said: “For different and often heart‐breaking reasons, too many young people don’t engage in learning at school or have the means to secure the work placements and life experiences others take for granted. But, through the Trust with its links to Aberdeen Football Club, sports‐based activities and coaching in a supportive environment, these young people will have access to opportunities to secure a brighter future.
“By guiding and coaching them in a dedicated and supportive manner over 12 months, we can help them gain the confidence to become a voice in their community, a role model, a sports coach, further education or simply steer them on the right career path towards meaningful and gainful employment.”
Around 50 young people have benefited from the unfunded programme in the last few years but the Trust had no funding stream to continue and expand it.
Ms Carter added: “Duncan was passionate about changing people’s lives for the better, particularly young people. He was an advocate for Career Academies, aimed at mentoring and finding work placements for fifth and sixth year pupils. An avid AFC fan, he became chairman of the Trust when it was formed in 2014. We can think of no better tribute to him than setting up a fund in his name which will support his vision of a better life for every young person and provide a fitting legacy.”
CNR International recognises the benefit of supporting young people and is demonstrating its commitment to working together with local communities and stakeholders by supporting the fund. The company’s Vice President & Finance Director, Barry Duncan said, “At CNR International, we are strongly committed to supporting the communities in which we work and doing this both financially and practically. The Brighter Futures initiative is one that we feel we can contribute to in both these ways, to provide excellent opportunities to as many young people as possible to reach their potential.”
The pledges from Duncan and CNR have got the fund‐raising off to a flying start. The Trust is aiming to meet a fund‐raising target of £100,000 which will allow them to put 150 young people through the programme over the next five years.
The funds will help deliver accredited training courses, STEM courses, youth exchange programmes, vouchers for interview and workplace clothing, travel costs, volunteering uniforms, work experience, internships and placements, an award ceremony for graduation and a mentor to support the young people through their first year of further education or employment.
Former Chief Executive of PSN, Bob Keiller is delighted by the programme and what it will do for young people. A close friend and former colleague of Duncan’s, he added: “Duncan always saw the potential in people and was passionate about giving everyone a chance to fulfil their potential. He mentored, coached and changed the lives of so many young people in so many ways.”
The Trust has already received donations in Duncan’s memory which will be added to the fund and a dedicated Just Giving campaign will be launched for one‐off and monthly direct debit donations as well as the opportunity to sponsor a named young person through the year‐long programme.