Aberdeen FC is backing a project that involves schoolchildren across the north-east locking away memories of coronavirus in time capsules and sending them into the future.
Schools across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are taking part in the Press & Journal and Evening Express’ Time Capsule Project, which will collect mementoes of lockdown and store them away for future generations.
And Aberdeen FC has announced it is donating a Dons shirt, some programmes from their games behind closed doors and the tickets to their last game in front of fans to the initiative.
The items will go in both the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire capsules.
‘We have responsibility to local community’
The squad will also be placing a letter in each capsule, discussing the challenges the past year has brought to the club.
Aberdeen captain, Joe Lewis, said: “As a family club, we have a responsibility to our local community and we are proud of the hope, comfort, friendship and smiles we brought to north-east folk during this time.
“We’re equally pleased to support the Press & Journal and Evening Express’s Time Capsule Project and hope the children of the future will enjoy opening it to find a Dons shirt, some programmes from our games behind closed doors and the tickets to our last game in front of fans.”
Aberdeen FC, together with its charitable trust, has launched several projects over the past 12 months to help those struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This included #StillStandingFree to support fans and the wider community during the first lockdown, personally calling 15,000 members of the Red Army, and launching a mental health app in partnership with Health Shield.
‘It’s fantastic Dons have donated to project’
Current and former players, the football management team, staff and volunteers also helped make more than 3,300 deliveries of food and essentials to more than 15,800 people in need throughout Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, including 4,000 children.
Speaking on the team’s involvement in the Time Capsule Project, councillor Marie Boulton said: “It’s fantastic that the Dons have donated to the Time Capsule Project which has really caught the imagination of our school children across the city.
“We have a great relationship with the club particularly through the AFC Community Trust and players like Joe and Niall are real role models for our young people.
“We have shared aspirations with the club in that we are committed to giving our children and young people the best possible starts in life by removing the barriers to attainment and listening to the young members of the community via the LOIP, our investment in schools, projects such as Big Noise Torry and, of course, our ongoing work to becoming a Unicef recognised Child Friendly City.
“I must also commend AFC on their sterling work on maintaining mental health in the community during the pandemic lockdowns.
“Mental health and wellbeing are extremely important issues for Aberdeen City Council and we have invested in mental health resources for staff as well as supporting the wellbeing of the people of Aberdeen with interventions such as Spaces for People.
“We really look forward to continuing to work positively with all at Aberdeen Football Club in the future.”
Packs sent to every school for submissions
Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils have sent Time Capsule Project packs to every school asking for submissions. Entries can only be submitted through schools.
Once all entries have been collected, a selection process will decide which entries make it into the capsules. It is hoped at least one piece can be included from each school that takes part.
Laurence Findlay, director of Education and Children’s Services for Aberdeenshire Council, said: “I’m sure in years to come local children will be fascinated to hear what life was like for local footballers as well as their peers during this turbulent time.
“Our strong link with AFC Community Trust is helping to support the health and wellbeing of children across Aberdeenshire, through coaching sessions in schools as well as projects such as our award-winning PeterDeen programme which is helping to re-engage young people in their learning and life goals.
“Partnership working is so important in opening up new opportunities and helping children and young people develop the skills and confidence for learning, life and work.
“The club’s PE @ Pittodrie sessions during lockdown were a welcome addition to daily life for many local families and helped schools to encourage young people to focus on their wellbeing which in turn supported their readiness to learn.
“We are really looking forward to seeing an exciting range of items coming together from schools across Aberdeenshire and I think the letter from the footballers will be a lovely touch.”
The location of the times capsules is to be decided at a later date and schools have until May 28 to submit work to put inside them.
It’s hoped that pandemic restrictions permitting, representatives from all the schools will be invited along to the special burial ceremony, marking the end of the Time Capsule Project.