An initiative that was set-up by a former footballer to encourage Aberdeen schoolchildren to become more active has netted the backing of John Lawrie Group.

The Aberdeen-headquartered firm has lent its support to the Russell Anderson Development School (RADS), helping the organisation stage a recent event to inspire hundreds of children to take part in sport.

Launched in 2012 by former Aberdeen Football Club captain Russell Anderson, RADS aims to promote positive attitudes towards health and fitness and to increase the provision of football development within recognised socially deprived areas of Aberdeen.

At present, around 1,800 pupils at primary schools in the St Machar Academy cluster benefit from the RADS scheme. Along with providing structured sports and fitness programmes, the children take part in fun exercises that develop ball skills and teach them about the importance of stretching, while building their knowledge and understanding of the benefits of physical activity and good nutrition.

To celebrate the success of the programme RADS held a Festival of Football and Sporting Activities at Riverbank Primary School on Wednesday, 16 May which brought together over 300 children from seven Aberdeen primary schools. The Primary 2 pupils took part in a series of fun sessions throughout the morning that helped improve their fitness, balance and coordination, while at the same time developing their communication, teambuilding, social and life skills.

As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting local community projects John Lawrie Group chose to sponsor the festival, helping to cover some of the running costs.

Dave Weston, John Lawrie Group operations director, said: “What RADS has achieved in such a relatively short period of time is nothing short of remarkable. John Lawrie Group is proud to be involved in such a fantastic initiative which helps to instil the importance of healthy and active lifestyles in children from a young age. The festival was a real success and a great opportunity for the children to develop a range of fitness, wellbeing and social skills in a fun way.

Commenting on the progress that RADS has made over the past six years, Russell Anderson said: “I’m extremely fortunate to have enjoyed playing football for such a big part of my life and have seen the benefits it can bring to so many people. Initially we went in with the goal of delivering after school activities and creating an environment that would allow the children to develop their skills, balance and coordination along with their general level of fitness which will have a lasting positive impact and help them to become healthy, confident individuals.

“It became apparent that we could offer more, and over the course of the last six years we have become more involved in the school curriculum delivering sessions during PE time.”

Over the course of the past six years RADS has received support from The Wood Foundation and more recently Saltire Energy. Active Schools Aberdeen has also been a strong advocate of the programme. The Festival of Football and Sporting Activities was also supported by Central Coaches which provided transportation to and from the event for some pupils.

For more information on the Russell Anderson Development School, visit