Steven Thompson, St Mirren captain and former internationalist, launched the new eco-friendly pavilion for Giffnock Soccer Centre, Scotland’s top community football club on Saturday.

The state of the art eco-structure sees Giffnock, who picked up  the Scottish FA Best Community Club Award from Kenny Dalglish last year, going from strength to strength as one of the country's biggest grassroots clubs.
The pilot project for the "eco pavilion" was funded and designed by the Scottish Football Partnership (SFP).

The new "smart" facilities are another boost for around 1000 players of all ages and both sexes from 5 year-olds to amateur level at Giffnock, as well as their adult disability team.

The environmentally-friendly pavilion has been built on the principles of a passive-house design. The "smart" building’s solar panels, along with movement and light sensors, harness the energy not just of sunlight but also the bodies of club users. The beauty of it is energy costs will be significantly reduced.
Other "smart" features include the latest high-insulation materials, heat-sensitive extractor fans and water-efficient showers and taps.

The project kicked off when  Stuart McCaffrey of the SFP met up with Giffnock’s Bernard Airlie in Sweden on a club and facility development trip funded by the Leonardo Di Vinci project.

They got to talking about the need for a changing facility to complement Giffnock's new state-of-the-art 3G pitch, which was jointly funded with SportScotland and East Renfrewshire Council.

A recommendation was made to the SFP Board of Directors that Giffnock would be the perfect candidate to join in a pilot project where Giffnock supplied 25 per cent of the funding.

The SFP has already had ground-breaking success delivering portable changing units to clubs across Scotland, from the Hebrides to the Borders.

The building comes complete with two adult and two children’s changing rooms both with showers, a referees' changing room and a kitchen.

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."

Stuart McCaffrey, the SFP secretary, says: “The project is unique. As Scotland’s European Qualifiers campaign is going so well, the debate has already started about what we are doing as a country to foster the talent of our budding young stars.

"Giffnock is a perfect example where the SFP have designed, project-managed and funded in partnership with the club this new ‘eco-friendly’ facility.

"Giffnock's facilities are a prime example of the route to take and will  have a very positive impact on the future of this club, its players and Scottish football as a whole”.

Along with the brand new 3G pitch which the kids can hone their skills on, the best Community club can now boast the best facilities thanks to the Scottish Football Partnership.