Former Aberdeen captain Russell Anderson is delighted to see his Development School making a difference to the lives of children in the Granite City.
Yesterday over 400 primary two pupils from the St Machar Academy catchment area descended on Riverbank Primary School for a festival of football and sporting activities organised by the Russell Anderson Development School (RADS).
The foundation was launched by the former Dons skipper, pictured, in 2012 with the aim to promote positive attitudes towards health and fitness as well as increasing the provision of football development within recognised socially deprived areas of the Granite City.
RADS work with 2,300 pupils across eight primary schools.
Speaking at yesterday’s festival of football, Anderson – who played for the Dons from 1996 to 2007 and 2012 to 2015 – was pleased to see the impact the development school has made.
The 40-year-old, who is now Formartine United assistant manager, said: “We’ve grown again from last year and I suppose that shows we’re doing something right.
“I think we’re starting to build a really good relationship with the schools.
“We’ve been working with some longer than others and I think they see the benefits of what we’re trying to do.
“Hopefully the children benefit from what we are trying to do.
“I hope the children enjoy the morning because it’s something different from their normal Tuesday morning.
“We’ve been working with all the children anyway so they probably know what to expect in terms of what the programme delivers.
“But it’s a different venue and a change of scenery for them.
“They were mingling with children from other schools and the whole experience will hopefully be something for them to really enjoy.
“We know that they have done over the last few years and hopefully this is the same.”
RADS have continued to grow since their launch seven years ago.
And Anderson admits at the outset he was unsure of how it would operate and what could be achieved.
The former Scotland international, who also played for Sunderland, Plymouth, Burnley and Derby, added: “Possibly the ambition was that it would develop as it has.
“But being honest at the start it was a blank piece of paper and we didn’t really know what we were going to do with it or where it was going to go.
“When you look at where we are now compared with that first after school session it’s night and day.
“A lot of work has gone into it over that period.
“But it’s great to see when it all comes together on a day like yesterday.
“When you see the kids enjoy themselves you know that’s worthwhile.”