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

young people should be seen, heard and listened to

Back in the old days, long before the young people we work with were dreamt of, many of those who serve on the Board of Management were raised themselves in a time where it was understood that young people should be ‘seen and not heard’. Decisions about the present which would affect the future, were reserved for older, ‘wiser’ heads, whose judgement would be unaffected by the clarity of young perceptions and whose compromises would lead to a stable future.

These days, such attitudes seem so last century. What do we have as a result? We’ve a world which is being slowly, becoming rapidly, killed by overconsumption and inequality. We’ve reserved decisions for people who won’t have to deal with their long term consequences and we still don’t value, as a society, the clarity of thought which young people can bring to conversations.

We still need the compromises brought by challenging new ideas with tests of practicality understood by those with experience, but we don’t need ‘we’ve always done it this way so we should now’ and we don’t need ‘we tried that before and it didn’t work so we shouldn’t try it again’. We need the involvement of young people in the decisions which affect them and especially which will affect them as adults later, long after us older people have gone.

Young people should be seen. They tend not to be in some of the most surprising places, like Paisley’s town centre and they tend not to be in the places where decisions are made. They should be heard, and encouraged to speak up, because they’re citizens just like old people like me and because their perspectives are born of a fresh look at life which would otherwise be missing. And being heard, but not listened to, is pointless. We have to recognise that effective expression comes from practice, we have to give young people the opportunity to practice expressing their ideas and we have to make additional effort to listen where it’s a little more difficult because they lack practice in being seen and heard.

So, where to start? Youth work should be aimed at supporting young people to confidently interact with adults in authority, so that they can continue to do so later as adults, and, hopefully, as adults they’ll remember expressing their own views and they’ll seek those of younger people in turn. We don’t have the answer, because we need millions of answers in the form of supporting young people to express themselves, to do so confidently and appropriately and to expect to be listened to and egnaged with, with respect for their potential as much as their existing experience.

So, this section of our website is an experiment in listening to , hearing and seeing young people. It doesn’t matter what they want to be listened to about as much as it matters that we develop our listening skills ourselves. The young people we support in Paisley and thereabouts can use this section to say what’s important to them and how they feel about it, to ask questions, to publish creative work, to link to information and services useful from their perspective, or fun from their perspective, or … whatever they’d like to use the opportunity for.

We’ll still maintain a cautious approach to moderation, and we’ll still reserve the right to correct, if needed, misplaced apostrophes (for me, the correct use of the apostrophe remains the root of all civilisation, which while it shows how old I am, remains part of effective expression).

If we can, we’ll support young voices to be heard and listened to. If this doesn’t prove attractive to young people then at least we tried.

Paisley, and the rest of the world, belongs not to the old, but to the young, who’ll inherit the consequences of our decisions. I hope that by listening to young people, we’ll leave them a better place.