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#StillStandingFree: Aberdeen Football Club COVID-19 campaign supported by Health Shield wins award

Health Shield and Aberdeen Football Club have been official health and wellbeing partners since 2018 and we’re delighted that our work together during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic has been recognised at this year’s Sports Business Awards. The Dons received a bronze award for “Best COVID-19 Response by A Club” in a category that included Everton Football Club, Manchester City Football Club, and the Rangers Charity Foundation. The award recognises our work in supporting the fan base and local community at a critical moment.


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When Scotland descended into lockdown in March 2020, the Club and AFC Community Trust (AFCCT) marshalled forces to provide support to fans and the wider community in the region during a time of great uncertainty. With the support of Health Shield, AFC became the first professional football club in Scotland to offer fans access to an innovative health app, which was launched in April 2020 as part of the #StillStandingFree campaign, to provide support and guidance on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dons’ fans had free access to the NHS-approved app* Thrive, which allows users to assess, manage and improve their mental wellbeing with a range of mindfulness tips, tools and techniques, with 80% using it to seek proactive help and preventative advice on issues such as worries about health, work, debt and stress. The project was hailed by Scottish politicians and a motion in the Scottish Parliament congratulated AFC and Health Shield for their efforts in supporting fans’ mental wellbeing.

Throughout the campaign, Club and Trust staff, players and former players, fans and volunteers worked tirelessly to achieve the objectives and to provide support to those most in need.

AFC’s response to the COVID‐19 pandemic was one of solidarity and support, with a plan which provided practical support bringing the Club and community together.

Rob Wicks, AFC’s Commercial Director, said:

“As one of the largest sporting organisations in the North-East of Scotland, at the heart of its community, it was important we worked proactively with our partners from the outset of the pandemic to provide encouragement and support during a very challenging period.

“With no football, empty stadiums, and people feeling increasingly anxious, as a Club we quickly set about supporting the community through our #StillStandingFree campaign, including a mass outreach programme to our fans.

“Being able to offer our fans access to the mental health app, at a time when there was an increase in mental health issues, was something which had a positive and tangible impact.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this award with our partners Health Shield.”


*The app meets NHS quality standards for clinical effectiveness, safety, usability and accessibility and has a supportive evidence base.