The new facilities at Kingsford can help the Aberdeen FC Community Trust (AFCCT) go from strength to strength, according to operations manager Steven Sweeney.
Last week the Dons’ charitable arm was recognised by UEFA as the best professional club in Europe for their work within the community at the governing body’s Grassroots Football Awards.
Sweeney was speaking as the trust released their impact report for the year 2018-19, up until June 30 this year.
It’s AFCCT’s fifth year in operation and along with their community partners they offer sessions related to football across the north-east focusing on three pillars – football for life, education and healthy communities.
Over the year 2018-19 AFCCT put on over 1,700 events, with more than 20,000 participants and over 424,000 participations across the 12 months.
At the end of this month Aberdeen will open the Cormack Park training and community facilities at Kingsford.
Sweeney believes having a base for the trust will allow them to continue helping people across the north-east.
He said: “Kingsford will benefit us significantly. On the pitch Aberdeen have achieved everything we have over the last number of years with no facilities.
“The first team have those challenges and the youth academy have those challenges.
“AFC Women are close to winning the league again with no facilities.
“For the community trust we’ve relied on partners to provide facilities because we’ve had no facilities.
“This will give us an excellent opportunity to build community capacity and work even closer with grassroots clubs that we’ve worked hand in hand with to gain this recognition.
“We can use it as a community club to improve public health and engage with some of those hard to reach, or as we prefer to call them, easy to ignore groups.”
In receiving recognition from UEFA the Dons trust beat competition from 54 other countries.
And Sweeney believes there is still so much more they can deliver.
He added: “It’s great the north-east of Scotland is getting recognition because there are lots of clubs out there with more resources than us.
“But we also recognise that this resets the bar and we want to go on and do more over the next five years as well.
“It was only our fifth birthday on July 1 so we’re very young – if we were a child we’re just going into Primary One. So I look forward to seeing where we are when we get to secondary school.
“Top-down you look at national and local strategies and work down the way.
“We try to have a steady line in the middle. We listen to the community and co-produce things but work with the local authorities and government and what their priorities are.
“That way it’s clear what the community needs and what the government prioritises.
“It’s the club’s responsibility to give back to the community – this isn’t an airy-fairy thing. It’s a moral responsibility to give back.
“We’ve got a city and region that’s been so good to us for many years, so it’s time to give back.”