The Scottish Football Partnership has just completed a pilot ‘eco-friendly’ changing pavilion project with one of Scotland’s biggest Grassroots football clubs, the Giffnock Soccer Centre which boasts a membership of 1,000 players ranging from 4 year-olds to full amateurs. The club were awarded the SFA Best Community Football Club in 2013.
The project kicked off when the SFP had an idea just over 12 months ago to design and build a new age changing facility which would be cost effective and environmentally friendly – based on the principles of a passive house design which would harness the energy of the sun and the children using the building to make the need for electricity almost negligible.
Giffnock Soccer Centre, who were due to take delivery of a new state of the art 3G pitch (part-funded by sportscotland and East Renfrewshire Council) in the summer of 2014 minus the provision of changing facilities, were soon identified as the perfect candidate to join in this pilot project following discussions between the SFP Secretary, Stuart McCaffrey and Bernie Airlie of Giffnock Soccer Centre whilst they were in Sweden on a club and facility development trip sponsored by the Leonardo Di Vinci Fund.
Fast forward to October, 2014 and this “smart” building is now complete, providing an elite changing facility and a sustainable future for this community football club. The eco-building comes complete with clever features to reduce energy costs including the latest high-insulation materials, movement and light-sensitive lighting, heat-sensitive extractor fans, water efficient showers/taps and solar panels which provide electricity for the building. The lay-out of the facility was designed specifically to meet the needs of the club and consists of two adult changing rooms with showers, two children’s changing rooms with showers, a referees’ changing room and a kitchen. The pavilion has been designed, project-managed and funded by the SFP in partnership with the club and enormous tribute should be given to the parents and officials of Giffnock Soccer Centre for their contribution of 25% of the project costs.
The official opening of the new pavilion took place on Saturday, 25th October, 2014 and St. Mirren star and former Internationalist Steven Thompson (pictured above) assisted with the cutting of the ribbon and he commented that “An eco-friendly building like this with the quality of materials can pretty much run itself and is sustainable for a grassroots club. It is a great project and I really believe that the more of these facilities that can pop up in and around Scotland the better.”
Joe McKerns, Chairman of Giffnock, said: “The new pavilion is a wonderful opportunity. You need a strong base with the best facilities possible. That’s the minimum to nurture talent. We pride ourselves on being the largest community club in Scotland. For some the main focus is winning trophies, for Giffnock it is about developing youngsters. We provide football for all, no matter what their ability.”
“When the discussions first happened with the Scottish Football Partnership, I didn’t imagine we would ever be able to achieve what is now in place within Eastwood Park. The SFP have provided us with changing facilities at the lowest possible cost but of the highest technology and this pavilion has enhanced everything that we have here for the kids at Giffnock Soccer Centre.”
SFP Chairman, James Clydesdale, who is absolutely delighted with the new facility, is quoted as saying “When the building is open, it is using less energy than that used by a parent bringing their child by car to play football at Giffnock. It’s got solar panels on the roof and incredibly high insulation levels. 20 youngsters coming in to change after a game of football generate huge energy levels which the building captures, recycles and then uses to reheat the place. The kids will never come into cold water because the water is continuously heated by the roof and the insulation levels help to keep the heat in the building. We hope this will provide a sustainable future for the Giffnock Soccer Centre and will perhaps be a pointer to the future for other similar buildings.”
The Scottish Football Partnership, looking to the future, would be extremely keen to roll out this project to other grassroots clubs – there is a huge demand for new and improved changing facilities and we would love to replicate the success of this pilot project at other community clubs throughout Scotland.
“If every community football club in Scotland had a building like this one, we would be well on our way.” (Cammy Watt, Scottish F.A. Facilities Manager)