320 primary school children from across Aberdeen had the chance to meet Aberdeen players Derek Young, Josh Magennis, Jamie Langfield and Scotland 21s skipper Chris Maguire at the Tesco Bank Football Festivals in Aberdeen this week. The events held at the Sports Village in Aberdeen on 2nd & 3rd November completed a schools programme that has seen coaches from Aberdeen FC deliver a structured football coaching programme to P2/P3 pupils during curricular time.
The festivals that targeted children from the Bridge of Don and St Machar areas of the city involved 4v4 games, a coaching zone and a finishing school where pupils challenged each other in scoring goals in various situations. The club will host further festivals in the near future in Aberdeenshire once the current schools coaching programme comes to an end in this area.
The Tesco Bank Football Challenge is a four year community programme run in partnership with the Scottish FA. The programme introduces football to Primary 2 and Primary 3 children (6-8 years old) across Scotland and gets them engaged in a healthy and active lifestyle. Scottish FA Community Coach Gavin Levey said:
"The Tesco Bank Football Challenge is integral to the development of the game in Scotland. It is not only about learning basic football skills but also about getting children involved in physical activity. I think that is fantastic that so many children from the Aberdeen area have been given the chance to take part in an initiative that is beneficial for both the local community and Scottish football. The festivals have been great and thoroughly enjoyable for all involved. A lot of the children involved are experiencing organised football for the first time and taking them to a festival like this at one of the best sporting venues in the country will be a day they'll remember for a long time."
Benny Higgins, Chief Executive of Tesco Bank commented:
"Tesco Bank aims to make a positive contribution to Aberdeen both in the way we do business and by supporting community initiatives. Football is central to this programme, acting as a vehicle for fitness and the development of both physical and social skills. Our aim is to see hundreds of boys and girls from across the region participating in football on a regular basis and having fun. We hope our initiative gives the kids an experience that will stay with them for life and ultimately encourage regular involvement in the game."
Tesco Bank is investing over £1 million in the programme and will use the power of football to get 6 to 8-year-old children active. The aim is to reach 72,000 boys and girls of all levels and abilities in, at least, 1,600 primary schools across Scotland's 32 local authorities with over 500,000 coaching hours.