Dec 232016

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Aberdeen Asset Management’s apprentice fundraisers, from left, Hannah Booth, Raegan McBain, Sam McGrath, Rachel Adam and Harry Rothnie.

Christmas has come early for Aberdeen Cyrenians which has taken delivery of a bumper £14,000 donation raised by apprentices from Aberdeen Asset Management.
More than half of the total came from a single mission – when apprentices were joined by  colleagues and spent a chilly night sleeping outdoors in Aberdeen, an experience that drove home the relevance and need to support those for whom homelessness and sleeping rough is a daily reality.

The five apprentices – Hannah Booth, Rachel Adam, Raegan McBain, Harry Rothnie and Sam McGrath –  have been praised for putting heart and soul into the charity challenge and making the donation at the time when demand for services is at its peak.

Scott Baxter, Depute Chief Executive for Aberdeen Cyrenians,  said:

“We are all absolutely delighted at how well the Aberdeen Asset Management  apprentices have done and with their energy, motivation and commitment they have raised an incredible amount of money.

“This money  will go directly to our Drop In service at a time when there is the highest level of need. We’ve developed a great friendship which we hope will continue in the future as these young people move into the professional world.”

The apprentices were challenged by their employees to raise £10,000 in six weeks for the Cyrenians and could turn to colleague Sophie Ewen, who was recently named apprentice ambassador of the year at the 2016 Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, for advice and assistance throughout. 

They planned and organised a whole host of money-raising efforts and in addition to the sleepout, they held a bingo night and raffle, race night, auction, cake sale, and sold bacon rolls to office staff on Friday mornings. They smashed their target after just  four weeks and were so committed to the cause that they gave up a considerable amount of their personal time to planning and staging events.

Apprentice Hannah Booth, part of the fundraising team, said:

“It was quite daunting being faced with the challenge of raising £10,000 but right from the start we gained wonderful support  from colleagues and many of them joined us on the Sleepout, or sponsored us to take part, which was just great.

“We feel that taking part in this challenge has brought us closer together and we’ve really bonded from having spent so much time in each other’s company through organising and holding our events. We’re all really proud to have been able to raise so much money for Aberdeen Cyrenians which does great work to support the homeless, rough sleepers and people who experience hardship in the North-east of Scotland.”

Aberdeen Asset Management has an established apprenticeship programme for school leavers which has been running since 2012. The programme runs for 12-24 months and is designed to help apprentices learn about the organisation, meet the people involved and help them decide which area of the business to begin their career in.

Apprentices are challenged to work together for community projects, in this case for Aberdeen Cyrenians, which has its headquarters close to Aberdeen Asset Management’s Union Plaza office and has supported homeless people in the city for over 45 years.

Aberdeen Cyrenians seeks to meet the needs of people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or are affected by severe hardship in any way. The charity listens to their difficulties, understand needs, share burdens, provide professional support and strive to identify solutions. More information can also be found online at

Since 1968 Aberdeen Cyrenians has provided a range of services to homeless people, rough sleepers and those who experience hardship in the North East of Scotland.

Today these cover residential services, a Violence Against Women project, a Domestic Abuse Support & Accommodation Project, an Advice and Information Service which offers nine drop-in sessions each week, and Street Alternatives where hot meals, personal care, showers, clothing and laundry facilities are provided.

For more information visit

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Oct 062016

CashforkidsWith thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates.

As the days shorten and the first signs of autumn begin to appear, a north-east charity is fundraising to ensure children in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are kitted out with warm winter outdoor clothing.
Cash for Kids is running its annual Coats for Kids appeal with the aim of raising enough money to purchase warm outdoor clothing for 600 underprivileged children living in the north-east.

The local children’s charity requires £30,000 to meet the expected demand, with the money being used to provide each child with a £50 clothing voucher to cover the cost of a coat, hat, scarf, gloves and a pair of boots.

This is the fourth successive year that Cash for Kids has organised the Coats for Kids appeal. The winter clothing appeal’s continuation reflects the level of child poverty that exists in the region – one in six children in Aberdeen and one in seven in Aberdeenshire live in poverty.

Cash for Kids works with support workers, social workers and community groups to improve the quality of life of sick, disabled and disadvantaged children and young people under the age of 18 living in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. It is through these working relationships that applications will be made on behalf of the children most in need of winter clothing vouchers.

The charity has once again struck a deal with a leading clothing retailer to provide the vouchers for the children. These vouchers can be redeemed against the purchase of new winter outdoor wear, with the children themselves being given the opportunity to select the items.

A number of companies across the north-east have already backed the appeal, but Cash for Kids is calling for others to lend their support. Staff in the Aberdeen office of Richard Irvin, which provides energy solutions and services across Scotland, have pledged to raise £500 for the appeal. This is enough to fund winter outdoor clothing packs for 10 children.

Sharon Walker, Richard Irvin social committee member, said:

“We were very shocked to hear that last year Cash for Kids had over 600 applications to provide children with coats and other winter clothing.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear that just on our doorstep there are families who have to make the stark choice of whether to provide their kids with food or heating.  The Coats for Kids appeal really makes a difference to families and I’m confident that the Richard Irvin team will rise to the challenge.”

Michelle Ferguson, Cash for Kids charity manager, said:

“The Coats for Kids appeal is very emotive. It highlights the issue of child poverty, but delivers many positive outcomes for the children who benefit, some of whom have never before had the opportunity to choose new clothes for themselves and have always previously relied on hand-me-downs.

“We are very grateful too all those who have supported the appeal this year, including the staff at Richard Irvin. The importance of warm winter clothing can’t be underestimated, particularly for health reasons. A donation of £50 would ensure that one child is kitted out for whatever this coming winter throws at us. With an estimated 600 applications to fulfil, every donation really will make a huge difference.”

In addition to running specific appeals, Cash for Kids provides quarterly grant funding to support sick, disabled and disadvantaged children and young people under the age of 18 throughout Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Funding is distributed at the end of January, April, July and October every year and is available to individuals, families and community groups. All applications must be endorsed by a third party, such as a social worker or health visitor.

Any individuals, organisations or businesses that wish to support this year’s Coats for Kids appeal should contact Michelle Ferguson on 01224 337010 or, or visit

Cash for Kids is Northsound Radio’s listeners’ charity. It makes grants to individuals, families, children’s groups, organisations and projects throughout the Northsound transmission area. All money is raised locally and spent locally to benefit local disabled and disadvantaged children and young people under 18.

More information on Cash for Kids can be found at, or telephone 01224 337010.

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Jul 112016

animals-176860_960_720With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

Duthie Gardens will host a Butterfly Identifying and Recording Workshop this Wednesday.
Anyone interested should book now to secure a place on this workshop (Wednesday July 13, 10am to 3pm) to find out how to identify and record butterflies in your area.

Participants will spend the morning indoors at the Duthie Winter Gardens learning about butterflies, then go for a walk in the gardens in the afternoon.

Please bring your own packed lunch and suitable shoes and clothing for the outdoor session.

This workshop is led by Butterfly Conservation Scotland Staff and is part of the Urban Butterfly Project.

Loss of habitat, use of pesticides, weather, climate change are all having an impact on the butterfly and moth populations of Scotland.

Conservation is key, and everyone can do their part to help butterflies. Leave a corner of your garden with long grass and plants that butterflies use. Learn more on this course.

For more information visit the Urban Butterfly Project

To book one of the few remaining spaces, contact or call 01786 459 811.

Dec 032015

With thanks to Cindy Douglas.

Cindy Douglas Snowfall2Aberdeenshire based Jazz vocalist Cindy Douglas has just released a seasonal EP entitled Snow Falls. The EP sensitively captures the bitter sweetness of the festive season.

One of the emerging talents on the UK jazz scene, vocalist and songwriter Cindy Douglas has carved a niche for herself with her broad repertoire, charming conversational style and engaging personality.

Her collaborations with such lauded musicians as Konrad Wiszniewski (New Focus, Brass Jaw, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra) and Tim Richards (Great Spirit, Hextet), have further enhanced and strengthened her reputation as a creative and ‘in demand’ jazz musician.

This latest project has Cindy joining forces once again with the musicians that featured on her critically acclaimed debut release My New Jive, namely: Tim Richards (piano), Dominic Howles (bass) and Jeff Lardner on (drums).

Cindy’s songwriting features on two tracks on the album.  The title track, a gentle bossa nova tune and the traditional carol Holst and Rossetti’s In the Bleak Midwinter, here titled Bleak Midwinter has been updated with a soulful and bluesy additional verse from Cindy.

Another favourite and familiar tune Christmas Time Is Here is given an up-tempo treatment which perfectly suits Cindy’s interpretation of the song as representative of a happy and childlike anticipation of Christmas. The original version from Charlie Brown’s Christmas can be heard on The Peanuts Movie, out in cinemas on 21st December.

The closing track is a lesser-known yet very beautiful Hoagy Carmichael song Winter Moon a tune whose atmospheric melody and lyric showcases Cindy’s vocal range and interpretive skills.

The EP will be available via Cindy’s website, and via iTunes and Amazon later in December. Individual tracks will also be available for purchase.

The original cover artwork was designed by Morven Douglas, Cindy’s 17 year old niece and is available as a free download with any purchase.

Cindy commented:

“Like many, the festivities over winter bring a mixture of emotions and memories. From the inner child’s wonderment at the magic in the air when waking up to snow, to the melancholy and sadness when thinking of longed for loved ones. These thoughts were very much in mind when putting this EP together.”

Track listing:

Snow Falls – Cindy Douglas/Tim Richards
Bleak Midwinter – Holst/Christina Rossetti
Christmas Time Is Here – Vince Guaraldi/Lee Mendelson
Winter Moon – Hoagy Carmichael.

Nov 192015

ChristmasFestivalWith thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

Preparations are now underway to create a festive winter wonderland in the heart of the Granite City.

Led by Aberdeen Inspired in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Codona’s, the Aberdeen Christmas Village will open to the public from November 26 to January 03.

Union Terrace will be closed from November 21 to January 8 to accommodate the village, while the slip road between His Majesty’s Theatre and Union Terrace was closed from November 16 to allow construction of the open air ice rink to begin in the pocket park.

The spectacular rink will provide the focal point among a variety of fantastic attractions, ranging from festive fairground rides and a German style market to an entertainment marquee and festive food and drink stands.

Gary Craig, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“The Aberdeen Christmas Village will be something unique and fantastic for Aberdeen and excitement is mounting as its opening draws nearer. Work will begin on Union Terrace on Saturday (November 21) and it will be great to see the village start to take shape. We believe that it will offer something different for residents and visitors to enjoy and create a wonderfully festive atmosphere in the heart of the city centre, enhancing Aberdeen’s Yuletide offering.

“Part of Aberdeen Inspired’s remit is to increase footfall within the city centre and we are sure that the Aberdeen Christmas Village will certainly help towards that. As well as building on the attractions we have put on in previous years, we wanted to create something that people would enjoy while also bringing in benefits to local businesses, restaurants and shops. It will be bigger and better than ever before.

“As with any major city centre event some traffic disruption will take place throughout the duration of its stay and plans are in place to minimise inconvenience to the public. We are looking forward to welcoming people to the village from November 26 and hope they enjoy the great variety of attractions and entertainment that will be on offer.”

Aberdeen City Council Deputy Leader Councillor Marie Boulton said:

“Excitement is really building now for the start of the Christmas Village with people from all over the city and further away having told us they’re thrilled about coming to see this unique event.

“The build for the ice rink is already taking shape and people will see a lot of work happening on the Union Terrace site to turn it into a winter wonderland. We look forward to welcoming people to our beautiful city with all the winter activities on offer.”

The line-up for the entertainment marquee has been organised by Breakneck Comedy and includes a host of talented comedians, bands, singers and choirs who have been booked to entertain the crowds. These include Best Girl Athlete, The Rock Choir, The Lorelei, Iron Broo and Dirty Shoes as well as Gary Meikle, Jordon Young and Jamie Dalgleigh among others.

The Aberdeen Christmas Village is part of the Winter Festival, which is being organised by Aberdeen City Council. A number of traffic measures will be in place for the duration of the village. Please ensure you plan ahead and for more information visit

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and driving footfall to the zone.

For further information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired visit

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Nov 122015

Neil Hanna Photography 07702 246823With thanks to Jennifer Kelly, Tricker PR.

A cosier winter is in sight for homeless people across Scotland this winter, thanks to the Scottish Women’s Institutes (SWI) picking up their knitting needles and casting on in support of a national campaign to help make a difference to the lives of Big Issue vendors.

As Scotland’s largest women’s organisation, and with many members talented sewers and knitters, the SWI is throwing its weight behind The Big Issue Foundation’s Big Knitathon to ensure that this year’s effort is the biggest and best to date.

Throughout November, the women will gather to knit garments, raise funds and hold events, all of which will benefit homeless people in Scotland. And, in a powerful message to get others involved, they are providing two Big Knitters – expert knitters who will help promote the Big Knitathon by attending events, posting tips online and answering knitting queries.

Although the SWI is no stranger to supporting important issues and worthy causes, it’s the first time that the 17,000 member organisation has been involved in the Big Knitathon – and members are determined that their backing will make a big difference to the lives of people who have become homeless. The SWI will be working alongside Hobbycraft, another key supporter of the campaign, with all 83 stores taking part nationwide.

As the leading ladies and resident ‘Big Knitters’ for the campaign, mother and daughter Anne (73) and Jane Muirhead (47) are determined to encourage all members – from novice to seasoned professional – to keep their knitting needles by their side for the month of November.

Gargunnock SWI member and Stirling Federation chairman Anne says,

“For as long as I can remember we, as an organisation, have gone above and beyond to support local and national causes. We’re passionate about making a difference and helping others in need.

“I’ve been a member for 40 years and I still love the fact that when we work together, we achieve extraordinary results. I, and many of my fellow members, were taught how to knit in primary one and so have had the best part of 70 years to perfect the skill – and practice we do!

“This is a fantastic cause with very worthy recipients so between our scarfs, gloves, blankets and hats, we’ll make sure The Big Issue vendors don’t feel a chill this winter.”

The Big Knitathon is an annual campaign to encourage knitters across the country to create clothing for the vendors, sell the finished articles to raise funds, or hold events with all proceeds going to The Big Issue Foundation. Over the last three years over 2000 knitters have got their needles out for the Big Knitathon and raised over £22,500 for the campaign.

For The Big Knitathon, SWI members are being encouraged to teach novice knitters, share skills, donate knitted goods organise fundraising events and document their knitting journey online through social media.

They are also encouraged to attend the nationwide Hobbycraft event on Saturday 14th November. Held in all 83 stores across the UK, the event will give members a chance to knit together, share skills, share patterns and enjoy a cake or two – all in aid of Scotland’s Big Issue vendors.

Stephen Robertson, CEO of The Big Issue Foundation, says,

“Winter is an especially difficult time for our sellers, especially when the end of the working day doesn’t provide any respite from the harsh conditions. The Big Knitathon enables everyone to help make our sellers’ days and nights easier by buying, selling or donating hand knitted items. This year we’re delighted to have support from the SWI, and know that the warmth of their fundraising and knitting support will be felt by our sellers through the winter’s chill.”

Working outdoors in the freezing winter months, vendors will be protected from the chilling Scottish winds and cold temperatures with cosy knitted hats, scarves and fingerless gloves. Knitters can also donate individual squares that will then be made into patchwork blankets providing some extra warmth during the coldest months of the year.

Joining in with the Big Knitathon is easy. SWI members can submit knitted goods or raised funds to their nearest Hobbycraft store throughout November. Simply register for free online and you will be sent a fundraisers pack. To find out more about the Scottish Women’s Institute visit

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Oct 082015

With thanks to Paul Smith, Managing Director, Citrus Mix.

Amanda Parer giant rabbits (1) The arrival of one of the world’s most eye-catching art installations will help underline Aberdeen’s credentials as a cultural hub, according to the organisation which has secured the acclaimed display for the city.
Aberdeen Inspired has worked closely with artist Amanda Parer to enable the striking public light installation Intrude to be brought to the north-east.

The mesmerising work will be unveiled in December in Union Terrace Gardens as part of this year’s expanded Winter Festival. It will serve as a precursor to SPECTRA, the increasingly popular Aberdeen festival of light.

Intrude has been showcased in high profile festivals across the globe – with New York, Paris, London and Sydney all included on an impressive list of host cities.

The installation features a collection of giant inflatable illuminated rabbits which stand up to seven-metres tall.

Gary Craig, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“Amanda Parer has earned wonderful reviews for Intrude, which is a truly stunning piece of work and one which has won international acclaim.

“Aberdeen Inspired has worked hard to bring this installation to the city centre and we’re delighted to be preparing to welcome Amanda and Intrude to what we feel will be a stunning setting. It will bring a real sense of fantasy and intrigue to the heart of an area that will be a hive of activity during the festive period.”

Amanda Parer said:

“The whole idea of having these giant pieces on display is that they don’t fit in. It is a playful art work that evokes fantasy and wonder. It has been designed to give the sense that five giant glowing white rabbits have just hopped in and intruded on a given environment, in this case the Aberdeen’s wonderful Union Terrace Gardens.

“With this art work people find a wonder associated with similar childhood events such as Christmas. Yes, there is a dark element to the work, as with many childhood stories. An element of darkness is required to show the light and my rabbits do glow so very brightly. 

“I am very much looking forward to bringing Intrude to the north-east of Scotland this winter and I thank Aberdeen Inspired for asking me to present my installation and Aberdeen City Council for having us.”

The arrival of Intrude is part of a packed Winter Festival programme, which will also feature the new Aberdeen Christmas Village on Union Terrace. Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen City Council and amusement specialists Codona’s are working together to bring the village concept to life from November 25 to January 3.

Gary Craig added:

“Aberdeen Inspired is striving to make the city a more vibrant, attractive and appealing place to visit, live and work in. Art is an incredibly powerful way of doing that and particularly when it is an installation as vivid and as high profile as the one Amanda Parer has created. To be able to bring this as a free outdoor exhibition to a north-east audience is tremendous.

“Of course art of any type has the power to spark debate and divide opinion, but we have been incredibly encouraged by the excitement which is already building. In recent years SPECTRA has brought a real buzz to the city centre and captured the imagination of thousands of people. We view the arrival of Intrude as the perfect way to set the scene for what I’m sure will be another successful festival of light.

“In the past Aberdeen has been criticised for its commitment to the arts. In my view that is unfair – there is a very healthy cultural scene which can grow and thrive with the right support. Aberdeen Inspired has an important role to play in that and we are prepared to continue to invest to bring the best, most captivating and thought provoking work to our city centre.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. Further information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at

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Mar 052015

duthie-park-bandstand-featWith thanks to Dave Macdermid.

Alan Amoore is the new Chairman of the Friends of Duthie Park, replacing Tony Dawson, who stepped down after seven years in the role at this week’s AGM of the group.

Tony, who has had the Dawson Beech planted within the park in recognition of the work he has done, will retain his links with the group, having been appointed to the role of Honorary President.

This year’s Friends of Duthie Park Open Day will take place on Sunday 16th August.

Feb 272015

fodp_logo_With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

This year’s Friends of Duthie Park Annual General Meeting will be held within the sunken area of the David Welch Winter Gardens on Tuesday (3rd March) at 7 pm.

The AGM is open to members and non-members and those present will be treated to a presentation updating activity within the park over the past twelve months in addition to sponsorship opportunities available for local businesses.

The Friends of Duthie Park is also looking for additional committee members who would be willing to assist with the group’s work.

Anyone interested who cannot attend next week’s meeting can contact

Oct 102014

1476404_561458237274267_1571602989_nAberdeen Inspired will once again be bringing festive cheer to the heart of the city, with plans for an ice rink in Union Terrace Gardens. With thanks to Paul Smith, Citrus:Mix.

Last year around 2,000 skaters took to the ice and the pop-up attraction is back by popular demand, in partnership with Aberdeen City Council.

The rink will be open from December 1 through to January 5 at its new home in the gardens. Last year the Castlegate was the venue.

Craig Stevenson, the Aberdeen Inspired director with responsibility for the organisation’s events programme, said:

“We decided to bring an ice rink back to the city centre last year after a long absence and the response was phenomenal. It created such a buzz and brought a real sense of fun to the Christmas period.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and driving footfall to the zone.

Craig Stevenson added:

“Aberdeen Inspired’s overarching aim is to bring more people to the business improvement district and the ice rink was a huge success from that perspective. We have moved to Union Terrace Gardens this year to add a fresh feel and to allow businesses in a different part of the zone to benefit from the positive impact.

“In saying that, the benefits last year were seen throughout the city centre and not just around the Castlegate. By bringing thousands of people to the heart of Aberdeen it helps support our members but also adds to the atmosphere and feel-good factor surrounding Christmas in the city.”

The length of time the rink will be in place has been extended this year to allow more people to enjoy the attraction over the festive holidays. Admission will cost £3 per person, including skate hire, and all proceeds will once again go to charity. The rink will open from 11am to 8pm each day.

For further information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired visit

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