City centre BID Aberdeen Inspired, and the ADHD Foundation will launch colourful summer installations featuring canopies of umbrellas in Aberdeen City Centre on Saturday 25 June at 12pm at Shiprow Village, Aberdeen.

To mark the launch of the Aberdeen project, a special weekend of celebrations is planned on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June from 12pm to 2.30pm. Dr Tony Lloyd, CEO of the ADHD Foundation and Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Inspired will welcome sponsors, spectators, and performers at the special launch event on Saturday, followed by free mini performances from local groups including Robert Gordon College Pipe Band, Sinclair School of Highland Dancing, Citymoves, Danscentre and more under the umbrellas on Shiprow and Bon-Accord Terrace across both days.

The two vibrant installations have been suspended across Aberdeen city centre streets at Shiprow Village and Bon-Accord Terrace, and will remain in place until September 2022. The installations featuring multi-coloured umbrellas suspended across city centre streets aim to raise awareness of and to celebrate the ‘umbrella’ term of neurodiversity, including ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyspraxia. 

The project also aims to raise awareness of the support that is available to individuals and families. Glasgow and Edinburgh are among the other cities which have signed up to take part in this year’s Umbrella Project, which will be coming to Scotland for the first time following huge success in other UK locations since 2017.

Commenting on the launch of Aberdeen’s Umbrella Project, Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Inspired said: “We are thrilled to be launching the Aberdeen Umbrella Project this weekend at Shiprow Village and Bon-Accord Terrace, and we are delighted that so many businesses and schools across Aberdeen City and Shire have also signed up to have mini-installations to celebrate neurodiversity”

“We are not only proud to bring such an uplifting project to the city for the first time but also to be playing such an important part in flipping the narrative of neurodiverse individuals, and instead, recognise the strengths and ability of those with cognitive differences.

“The displays will encourage people from all walks of life to come into the city centre, enjoy all it has to offer, take part in the celebrations and embrace the joy of the multi-coloured installations.”

Roulè Wood, Business Engagement Manager and Project Manager for the Umbrella Project at Aberdeen Inspired added: “The Aberdeen Inspired ADHD Foundation Umbrella Project is a community project at heart which has been evidenced by the incredible contributions and support the project has attracted from a number of schools, businesses and individuals across the city.

“The Aberdeen umbrella installations would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship of Principal Sponsor Harbour Energy and welcome funding contribution from the Scottish Government’s Scotland Loves Local fund. A number of other businesses and individuals from across the city including Goodsons, CNR, Union Square, PwC, Cross Energy, Torus BGP and Andy & Lindsey Ritchie and Robert Strachan sponsored mini-installations at local schools and the City Children’s library.

“We expect the Umbrellas to become one of Aberdeen’s most exciting and anticipated installations, which will not only capture the hearts and minds of people from across the city but also raise awareness of the importance of the neurodiverse world we live in where one in five people are neurodivergent.”

Phil Prentice, Chief Executive Officer at Scotland Towns Partnership added: “Aberdeen Inspired has recently been successfully restored as the Granite City’s Business Improvement District. The BID has been at the forefront of helping the city through COVID, but also instrumental in looking towards the city’s low carbon future. The Umbrella Trail is another great example of how the BID has been supporting the local economy through a series of unique events, festivals and investments”

Multiple businesses have signed up for a mini installation, both within and out with the BID, such as Aberdeen University, Robert Gordon University, The Sandman Signature Hotel, TMM Recruitment, Trinity Shopping Centre and many more. Local school children have been getting involved in the Umbrella Project too, with 25 schools signed up to display their own mini umbrella installations in the schools. They have been encouraged to sign and decorate the umbrellas with their special talents and abilities – their superpowers. Participating schools also receive training resources for teachers and assembly resources from the ADHD Foundation.

The Umbrella Project is also part of the ADHD’s national campaign where they are inviting people across the UK to ‘think differently’ about the 1 in 5 people who are neurodivergent, making this their largest celebration of neurodiversity yet.

The campaign will run across hundreds of Clear Channel’s digital Out of Home screens nationwide, include large public outdoor Umbrella Project installations in every country and bring together a slew of new celebrity patrons.

Dr Tony Lloyd, CEO of the ADHD Foundation says: “The scale and enthusiasm behind this latest campaign is really a testament to our visionary partners across all sectors. More and more we’re seeing society change how it views neurodiversity – business, education, entertainment – we’re finally beginning to shift away from associating neurodiversity with ‘low ability.’”

Harbour Energy is the principal sponsor of the project and Aberdeen Inspired were also awarded a grant of £12,500 towards the project – roughly half the cost of one installation – through the Scottish Government’s Scotland Loves Local Fund II which aims to encourage people to think local first and support businesses and enterprises in their community.

The project will be in place from June until September 2022.