Culture Academy/ Visual Arts – Designing Paisley’s new Interactive Mural

Our Summer Schedule continues with our online exclusive Culture Academy/Visual Arts events every Monday!

With our new culture academy/visual arts group, members will be designing and creating an interactive mural that will be displayed in Paisley. Our friends from Create Paisley will also be collaborating with us on this project.

Since its launch, this club has proven to be a popular pastime, with our talented young people eager to show off their artistic and creative abilities to create a mural that sums up the diverse and exciting talent that Paisley is home to.

This is a great chance to get creative and show off your design abilities! Tickets are available from Eventbrite.

Our Summer of Gaming has begun! 🎮

Our summer of gaming has begun! Last week, we opened our doors to the public for the first time since the lifting of lockdown restrictions in Scotland and the summer schedule has begun with our Summer Gaming Café!

Every week, our young people are invited to spend the day playing games, chatting to our youth workers and having fun with their friends. Ever since the event was announced, both the first and second week have sold out, with a strong following of young people already committing to the new programme.

Youth Worker Jordan McDonald states that the success of the first week proves the need to in-person socialising and fun summer activities for young people, “Since it was the first week back I think there was a lot of apprehension, with the way the world is with Covid. But the young people are happy just to get back out and start socialising.

“When you return to meeting in person, you don’t know if it’s going to be popular or if people are anxious to come in. But seeing that it’s been sold out every session, it just shows that it’s been needed for the young people.”

The opening of the new Paisley YMCA building in Paisley High street also marks a new step in setting up new equipment and an area for young people to move freely after the easing of Covid restrictions.

Fellow Youth Worker John Gore is also impressed with the success of the opening week and hopes it will set a standard for the rest of the summer, “I think with the limited amount of equipment we have; it couldn’t have gone better. As long as there’s young people showing up, we should try and accommodate for that as best we can, over the whole summer if they still want to come. I think that’s a great thing.

“I was concerned about how we would set up just for the young people being in here, how we would section everything. But I think it’s been done to the best that it can be. Everyone seems to be showing up.”

Our Summer Gaming Café events occur every Tuesday and Friday. Tickets are available from Eventbrite.

A New Chapter – Exploring the next steps for Paisley YMCA

With Paisley YMCA opening its doors again this week for the first time since its closure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the effects of the last year have marked a significant point in the charity’s long history.

The organisation was originally founded in 1832, when evangelist David Naismith visited Paisley and established the “Paisley Young Men’s Sabbath Morning Society for Prayer and Religious Purposes”. This organisation would bring together young men every Sunday for prayer and biblical study, while during the week they would engage in clubs, sports and other leisure activities. This would later become the Paisley YMCA we know today.

Since then, they have continued to offer exceptional help and support for young people living in Paisley at their base in William Street, with development workshops and access to equipment to help young people in the workspace to educational and fun clubs for younger residents.

However, the pandemic brought many changes and challenges to our work format. With many members suddenly having to work from home and adapt to the technology and communication required to keep work going, these circumstances prompted a re-evaluation of how Paisley YMCA could continue to provide our services without the advantage of a physical space. Many of the Makerspace clubs moved online, with members now required to sign in online and communicate via Zoom.

Darran Gillian, Youth and Programme Development Manager for Paisley YMCA, states his belief that the pandemic has had this effect on the regular makerspace clubs and activities that YMCA run, as many of them have made the online move:

“Young people are experiencing unprecedented change and disruption in their life’s due to COVID-19. The restricted access to front-line youth activity has severely impacted on young people’s learning in our Makerspace and outreach activities. The challenge for Paisley YMCA now is how to continue supporting young people’s identified needs now that centre-based youth work opens up again.” 

But the effects of the pandemic weren’t the only difficult circumstances for the organisation to overcome. In February of this year, the Paisley YMCA base in William Street fell victim to a horrific fire attack that resulted in the destruction of the property. The attack meant a needed change in base for activities, which provided yet another setback to potentially reopening its doors.

However, the securing of a space in 39 High Street in the Paisley area and the easing of restrictions has allowed the YMCA to finally reopen its doors to the public with a summer schedule of activities lined up for its young residents, including a Summer Gaming Café event taking place twice a week. Darran states that this is only the beginning of the future work Paisley YMCA hopes to accomplish this year:

“I’m pleased to say that we have an exciting line-up of STEAM-based activities starting with our Summer of Play programme where we have turned our high street offices into a gaming cafe for young people to hang out and have fun. 

“We will soon be launching our AWS DeepMind Racer AI-based autonomous race team to compete with other teams worldwide and as we build back better from the William Street fire, we now look at this space as the new Mecca for town centre-based youth activities”.

This reopening marks a positive step forward in rebuilding the face-to-face connection Paisley YMCA has maintained in the local community for over 150 years and also shows the growth and perseverance the staff and youth workers have accomplished over this difficult year. With elements of online communication that were made necessary by the pandemic now being evaluated as permanent additions to the way youth work is carried out while maintaining that face-to-face communication is still vital for lots of vulnerable young people living in Paisley, Paisley YMCA hopes to continue to demonstrate positive growth and providing vital care.

We’re very excited for the future holds and we hope to see many of you over the summer!

Summer Gaming Cafe – Event

We’re very excited to announce that next week we will be hosting a Summer Gaming Cafe for young people in Paisley. This will be our first face-to-face event since reopening and we’re all very excited! 😊

Here are a few things to keep in mind before registering:

  • There are 15 available spaces for each day.
    • Please complete the up to date Paisley YMCA Registration & Consent Form.
    • Food, snacks and fruit will be available but we would like to ask you to please bring your own water bottle.
    • We would also like to politely ask to please not attend if you or any of your household are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.
    • Young people should be dropped of at the entrance of 39 High Street – Grown ups will not be permitted inside the space at this time.
    • Current Covid-19 Guidelines and Procedures will be observed.
    • Young people are asked to please wear a mask – this can be removed when seated.

The timing and schedule are listed below.

Tuesday 6 July

1pm to 3:30pm

39 High Street, Paisley PA1 2AF

Cost – FREE

Age – 8 to 12 & 13 to 17

Friday 9 July

1pm to 3:30pm

39 High Street, Paisley PA1 2AF

Cost – FREE

Age – 8 to 12 & 13 to 17

Tickets are available from Eventbrite.

Dropping in on a Friday Night – The improvement this fun club can have on mental health

One of the biggest social discussions throughout the pandemic is the impact it has had on the mental health of young people. With the uncertainty of changing times and ways of learning and communicating having changed drastically, this has proven to be a confusing and often difficult time for young people.

With the pressures of keeping up with education and activities despite unconventional methods, the importance of being able to relax and de-stress during free time is now more important than ever. The Friday Night Drop In Makerspace group run by Paisley YMCA is a group designed with this in mind. The club is a drop in session for young people aged between 8 -17 to simply relax, engage in leisure activity and have fun without any set goals or ongoing projects.

Youth Programme Coordinator Claire McGinley states that the impact of this time is crucial for young people to relax from the stress of our current times:

“I love this club because it is a space where you come along and you just be you. For young people, there is a lot of pressure and expectations on them and a lot attached to being a young person now, I feel.”

“But young people need time to relax and just chill out, which is why we created that specific space with no agenda, with no particular goals in mind because it depends on the night how the young people feel. Do they to play an RPG, do they want to just talk about something, tell jokes, do some drawing? There’s value in just being and chilling out. We have a pretty packed schedule; we offer a range of clubs and skills and I think it’s important we also offer a space that says ‘just be’.”

The Friday Night Drop In sessions offer a valuable and understated free space for young people to simply have fun, which is every bit as crucial as developing skills and taking place in science quizzes. For more information about the Friday Night Drop In and how to get your tickets, please check the Paisley YMCA Makerspace List.

Flex your Skills! With Digital Design Club 😊

Young people are more digitally engaged than ever before, but that doesn’t mean they know it all right away. There is still a whole world of skills and ways to digitally express themselves that they have yet to explore and learn from. This is where Digital Design Club comes in!

Digital Design Club is a Saturday Makerspace morning group run by Paisley YMCA. It stands out as one of the most proactive digital groups, as it focuses on the development of digital projects created by the young people who attend with the goal of having a tangible finished project to present in the Makerspace.

The benefit of this allows the young people to participate in controlling their own projects while sometimes not even realising all that they are learning by doing so. Youth Programme Coordinator Claire McGinley states that, “The digital design club is great because the projects are led by the young people. It’s entirely up to them what they want to create and how they want to create it. But even by saying that we’re going to create a digital story, it’s all the steps they need to take in order to create it.”

The digital design club works as a wonderful showcase for our young people’s creativity and the development of their digital skills through fun activity. As Claire states:

“You’re researching, storyboarding, these are all planning and organisational skills. They get really excited about the project and the steps they need to take to get there and they’re learning design thinking, processes and all these kinds of things. There are real tangible skills attached to that, which translates into their lives and schooling but will also translate into employment as well.”

With many job and work opportunities now taking place online with need of solid technical skills, Digital Design Club stands out as one of the more experimental and educational offerings from Paisley YMCA. It’s a great space to both flex creativity while building up a valuable offering of skills and talents.

For more information about Digital Design Club and how to get tickets, please check the Paisley YMCA Makerspace List.