PeterDeen project wins national award

An innovative partnership launched in Peterhead last year led by Aberdeenshire Council’s Community Learning and Development team alongside AFC Community Trust to offer alternative educational opportunities to the area’s young people has been given special recognition at a national level.

The PeterDeen programme has won the SPFL (Scottish Professional Football League) Trust’s Community Project of the Year Award at yesterday’s SPFL Trust Conference in Hampden. Two young people from Peterhead Academy who have been participating in the programme made the journey to present on the project and collect the award in front of representatives from 42 SPFL clubs, the Scottish Government, the SPFL and the Scottish FA.

The partnership approach involving Aberdeen FC’s Community Trust as well as Peterhead Football Club, Peterhead-based Score Group and other local organisations has been such a success it is hoped this can be replicated in other areas.

Attendance rates from participating pupils has gone from below 40% to beyond 90%. The alternative curriculum specially devised for them includes coaching sessions and the opportunity to focus on skills for life as well as continuing to work on core subjects such as English and Maths.

To date, 18 S3 pupils have taken part in the scholarship programme to develop their skills for learning, life and work in a way they might not otherwise achieve. Alongside the award-winning PeterDeen Project, other finalists at the SPFL Trust Conference included projects from Celtic FC Foundation, Partick Thistle Charitable Trust and Rangers Charity Foundation. 

The project delivers a curriculum through which students are encouraged to celebrate their own achievements and develop as independent, responsible and creative young people with a lifelong interest in learning and self-development.

Councillor Gillian Owen, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee commented: “We are so proud of the young people who are clearly gaining so much from this scholarship programme and our staff who have supported them along the way. All partners should be extremely proud of their contributions too – it demonstrates just how much of a difference partnership working can make for the benefit of our local community.”

David Smith from AFC Community Trust commented: “Aberdeen FC Community Trust and Aberdeen FC are delighted that this innovative and collaborative project has been awarded the Community Project of the Year. The young people involved in the PeterDeen scholarship have gone on a brilliant journey, with plenty of highs and lows along the way. To see two of our young people go to Hampden and deliver this presentation, and come back with the award is brilliant for them and the group. Yesterday’s All Club Conference was a great way for Scottish football to showcase all the amazing work being delivered across the country, it’s fantastic to work alongside the SPFL Trust and the rest of Scottish Football delivering life changing projects for those in our communities.”

Conrad Ritchie is Managing Director of Score International Limited. He said: “We are very pleased with the positive progress within the PeterDeen programme. Well done to the pupils involved and their achievements so far. We are delighted to be involved in this project and are confident that the programme will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Martin Johnston from Peterhead Football Club added: "Peterhead FC are delighted that the PeterDeen Project has been recognised at a national level by this award. We are also pleased to have played a role in the inaugural year of what is a ground-breaking project. Congratulations to all stakeholders and of course the participants for making this possible."

Nicky Reid, SPFL Trust CEO added: “It’s fantastic to see so much brilliant work going on in our communities up and down the country. This year we’ve focused on highlighting how the projects align with the government set National Outcomes to really show the added value football can add to society. A huge congratulations to the PeterDeen Scholarship for winning the peer vote, and thank you to all our finalists for sharing their amazing projects with us.”