Seeking Additional Board Members

Paisley YMCA delivers nationally leading youth work services based on digital technologies which make a real difference to young people – helping both skills and character development.

We’re based in the centre of Paisley, but we also deliver services in local communities.

Our recent AGM led to significant change on the Board as long-standing contributors retired and new people were elected as office bearers (Chair and Vice Chair) and other members joined the Board.

The changes bring to the Board new people and new capacity, but we’re feeling the loss of experience, and we’re looking for others to join us.  We no longer have a Treasurer, and we could really benefit from a Board member with financial management experience.

We also recognise that we’d really be helped by people with HR and properties management experience joining us. 

We find that volunteering to support the work of Paisley YMCA to be rewarding and useful for our own development. 

If you share our values, as outlined below, and you’d like to help Renfrewshire be a better place we’d like you to think about joining us as members, and if you’ve a financial management, HR or properties management background and some time to help and gain from personal development, we’d like you to think about joining the Board.

Back in the day, membership of Paisley YMCA was designed for people of Christian belief, but we’re now a membership organisation based on values, rather than religious belief.

We’re based on two core principles:

  • that people should treat others as they’d like to be treated themselves, sometimes called the ‘Golden Rule’.  While inspired by Christian teaching, we believe that this is a universal value found in some form in most religions and humanist movements.  We believe that if everyone stopped to consider their actions in this manner, the world would be a better place.  We’re proud that our members include people of different faiths and of none; and
  • that people in need should be helped regardless of who they are.  Again, a universal value, this one derived from the ‘good Samaritan’ parable.  We want to help people in Renfrewshire, particularly young people, have opportunities to learn and develop, and to thrive, whoever they may be.   We’re not just for people of any particular religion, ethnic background, sex or gender, age, sexual orientation or other way of dividing people, we’re for everyone.  (But we’ll remain mostly focussed on supporting young people).

We face some serious challenges and we’re looking for the right people to join us and help.

Our financial position is precarious and while we’re going to be focussed on applying for funds to carry us through, we also need to improve our financial management and reporting to the Board. 

Our HR policies and practices need to be overhauled and modernised. 

We own property which is currently draining resources without contributing to our work, but which could be a massive asset for Paisley. 

We’ve also got strengths.  We deliver sector-leading digital youth work and we’re building our new makerspace facilities right in the heart of Paisley.  We support young people to develop useful skills, and we know that some of the skills most important to young people aren’t technical but related to the ability to confidently interact with peers and with adults in authority. We support young people to think about our core values as they apply to their own lives.  We see young people develop in character and we’re proud to have been a part of their development.  We’ve a capable, knowledgeable staff team. We care about Paisley and the rest of Renfrewshire and its people.  We’re part of local community networks and the national and international YMCA movement. 

If you share our values and would like to support us, by becoming a member, we’d like to welcome you.  You can join from our website.  If, in addition, you’d like to help us based on HR,  property management or financial management experience, and you’d welcome the opportunity to develop your own experience by applying it to a different context, then please get in touch with Craig Green, the Chair, at

Staffing Changes

Darran Gillan, who served as the Youth and Programme Developemnt Manager for the last five years, has moved on to other employment. Darran oversaw the development of Paisley YMCA as a sector leading agency delivering ‘digital youth work’ and we wish him well in his new role.

Claire McGinley has been appointed on a temporary basis as Youth and Programme Development Manager and has already begun work in the new role.

Paisley YMCA will review its staffing structure in 2022.

Renfrewshire Youth Academies Now Underway

The Renfrewshire Youth Work Network supports the Outdoor, Culture, Digital and Community Empowerment Academies

The Renfrewshire Youth Work Network has organised youth work delivery into four Academies and the first one, the Culture Academy, led by our local partner Create Paisley, is now underway

There are four Academies:
• the Culture Academy (led by Create Paisley);
• the Digital Academy (led by Paisley YMCA),
• the Outdoor Academy (led by Renfrew YMCA); and
• the Community Empowerment Academy (led by Renfrewshire Council’s Youth Services)

While leading on the Digital Academy, Paisley YMCA is also supporting the others (digital art for the Culture Academy, ‘STEM in the Wild’ for the Outdoor Academy and support for the development of a new Community Empowerment Award for the Community Empowerment Academy)

The Academies were formed as part of the Youth Work Educational Recovery Programme, supported by the Scottish Government and they provide a framework for Youth Work Network members to gain recognition for the invaluable learning which comes from the Network’s various youth services

The recent fire at our Makerspace will inevitably hinder the Digital Academy a little but the majority of the work was anyway always intended to be conducted out in communities, and we’re now seeking partner venues to bring the Academy to local communities

The Academies will focus much of their work on some of the more deprived areas in Renfrewshire, but everything is open to all young people across the county

There’s an excellent article with more detailed information explaining the Culture Academy and the role of other partners including Right2Dance, at the Paisley Daily Express

And well done Alan and the team at Create Paisley for its early start!

Closing the Digital Divide with Raspberry Pi

Some of the young people we support have been highlighted by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in a recent blog post and an article in their MagPi magazine. In correspondence, a programme manager at the Raspberry Pi Foundation observed that “we consider Paisley YMCA to be a fantastic example of a youth organization that already excels at integrating digital making and youth work”.

The Raspberry Pi computers are at the heart of our ‘Makerspace at Home’ project.

A young person receives a Raspberry Pi kit to learn at home
Unpacking for Makerspace at Home
A young person receives a Raspberry Pi kit to learn at home
Learning as part of Makerspace at Home

Such external recognition is invaluable to us and we hope to contribute to a new Community Partnerships area of work with the Foundation.

Raspberry Pis are small and cheap, pocket-sized computers which enable young people to experience the full power of computing based on the open source Linux platform (instead of the usual Windows).

While we’re still recovering from the fire which destroyed the contents of our Makerspace, supporting young people at home and in their local communities has become even more important to our efforts to reach and support local young people.

More information about learning at home with the Raspberry Pi Foundation is available at Learning at home with the Raspberry Pi Foundation – Raspberry Pi

Meet and Code Awards

Well, we weren’t awarded first prize in the Community Category of the Meet and Code Awards (that went to the fantastic DENSA Coop Soc project in Italy) but we’re still proud that our ‘Five Days of Code’ event, delivered in October 2020, reached the Awards finals as the only UK finalist.

Our certificate of recognition as a finalist in the Meet and Code Awards 2020

Meet and Code helps non-profits organize grassroots coding events supporting communities of all sizes and making Europe more digital starting at the local level. The initiative strives for global change and work within the framework of EU Code Week and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This international dimension to our work is important to us, and reaching the finals is testament to the skills, innovation and dedication of our staff and to the positive response of young people in the Paisley area to informal learning opportunities which develop both technical skills and personal skills.

Well done all, we’re proud of you!