Developing Our Makerspace! Technology, creativity and what has our young people excited 🖥️📱💻

In the past several months, we have been working hard to re-establish our Makerspace. New kit, toys and equipment have arrived in the past several months and we are thrilled at the new opportunities this equipment will offer to our weekly clubs.  

In addition to our 3D printers and Smart Gardens displayed in the window of our space, our recent new additions include a vinyl cutter, a printing press, VR headsets, a Podcast studio and our new greenscreen room.  

This technology enables our digital CLD (Community Learning and Development) team at Paisley YMCA to develop innovative and exciting projects for our young people allowing them to use these tools to open up their own creativity with guidance from our Youth Workers. It also gives them access to equipment and technology they may not be able to access from home or learning facilities. All of our clubs are focused on empowerment, building confidence, developing relationships, learning new skills and peer support.  

When asked what they were most excited to use in our space, various young people responded; 

“3D printer, I also want to use the greenscreen.”  

“I want to make t-shirts with the vinyl cutter!” 

“Making cats in the 3D printer.” 

“I want to make little 3D skulls, to decorate.” 

“I’m going to step out of reality. I want to look at virtual reality.” 

“I love the space. I can’t wait to use VR.” 

“VR is enjoyable.” 

Our exciting new projects include developing our podcast studio to amplify young people’s voices, working with ReMode Youth on a Sma’-Shot animation project currently in development, creating our Jacquard Loom project in collaboration with Paisley Museum with our young people designing an exciting new game to be displayed and other exciting new projects planned with our new technology.  

At Paisley YMCA, we utilise STEM learning and technology in our space in order to help young people with their personal development and expand their skillset. We are very excited to see what the future holds for our new kit and where our young people will take us with it!  

Tickets for our weekly clubs are available from Eventbrite. All of our clubs are free to attend and our base is located at 39 Paisley High Street. If you have any questions or queries, please contact claire@paisleyymca.scot.  

A Space for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics; Reflecting on Science Week 2022 at Paisley YMCA

As we come to the end of UK Science week, we reflect on the importance role science and technology plays in our weekly clubs available for our young people. 

We have a variety of science-based clubs available at our makerspace each week, including STEM Girls on Wednesday and STEM Saturdays, which allows a space for our young people to create and explore STEM experiments and activities.  

With our latest technological additions to our space such as a vinyl cutter and 3D printers, this opens up even more possibilities for seeing what our young people can come up with using technology and household materials to create STEM-based projects that teach them about the imagination that goes into science.  

According to Youth Worker Mary-Jane McNally, this freedom to explore and create is part of why the science element to our clubs is so important to our young people, “The way science is normally portrayed is a very specific type that only appeals to one type of brain. And I feel that’s doing a science a disservice. It’s about repeating and recording and there’s other aspects. If you want to experience a range of things just casually on their own terms [..] It’s nice to be able to want to do something and just do it. School decides on your behalf what you’re doing.  

“They come here and if they want something, within reason, we’ll try to facilitate them getting towards their goals so the range of science can be broader. Some science-based environments are about results; here it’s about discovering things on your one terms instead of solely going through what people have done in the past so you can get something new.” 

At Paisley YMCA, we base the majority of our weekly clubs at the Makerspace from response to the suggestions of our young people. Therefore, the strong scientific element of our clubs comes from our young people’s enthusiasm for STEM/STEAM-based activities. These included the building of structures and project using household items and materials such as pipe cleaners, cardboard, spaghetti and much more throughout the week! While our Future Fridays are a great space for young people to just chill and hang out with their friends, Wednesdays and Saturdays are when the young people come to show us their innovation with our Youth Workers to help them along with their projects and ideas!

However, STEAM activities cover much more than just the S for science; it also stands for Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics which open up far more areas of opportunity for learning. Paisley YMCA are also known for our work in digital technology, an element we hope to expand upon even more with the arrival of our new kit! The young people are also passionate about the arts, as shown by their creations and drawings they present each week at club.

Both the freedom and proactivity of our STEM-based activities at weekly clubs’ showcase is one of the core elements to their enduring popularity with our young people. This is echoed by the young people themselves, as stated by one of our weekly STEM girls; “There’s actually activities we can do here and it’s not someone just talking and throwing information at you for an hour. Here you actually get to do activities and learn things, you’re not just sitting at a table.  

“You don’t have tests here, you do the activity and it makes it more enjoyable and makes you want to do it more.” 

While UK Science week may have come to an end, we intend on keeping our scientific roots growing all year round! And all information and tickets for our weekly clubs are available from Eventbrite.  

Follow us on Twitter (@YMCAPaisley) and Instagram (@paisleyymca) for more updates!  

A Interactive Day of Fun with SoundPlay Projects! 📟

Our Summer of Fun project comes to an end with another collaboration from SoundPlay Projects as part of Conversations with Installations!

Partnering with Soundplay Projects, last week saw the display of a digital mural at Paisley YMCA for the general public to interact with and experience the science and technology of creating it. This is one of the many projects from Soundplay that integrates art and sound with moving pictures to create an interactive experience.

Founder of Soundplay Projects and Musician, Bal Cooke states, “We are really happy with the results – we weren’t quite sure how people would react to something like this out on the high street but the reaction has been so positive, across all age groups too.”

It shows the impact of combining the technology with natural artistic creativity in order to inspire our young people and get them thinking about the impact they could make. Soundplay Projects and Paisley YMCA emphasise the importance of accommodating new audiences and inclusivity, especially young people to encourage them to begin thinking about the way these methods can be used, as Cooke explains;

“I think young people like seeing technology used in unexpected ways like this – combining elements like sensors, sound and digital visuals. It can really fire the imagination and I hope it inspires young people to think about creating their own digital work.”

For more information regarding Soundplay Projects, please check out their website for details.

Join Us – we’re seeking new members

Paisley YMCA has seen in recent years a reduction in our membership to the extent that all our members are on the Board of Management, but this is changing for 2021 – we’re looking for new members to join us

At it’s heart, Paisley YMCA, like all YMCAs, is about fellowship of like-minded people who share the Christian values of:

  • treating other people the way we’d like to be treated ourselves (‘do unto others as you would be done by’ is the Christian ‘Golden Rule’); and
  • supporting other people regardless of their personal characteristics, be that race or ethnicity, religious belief or lack of it, sex or gender, sexuality, disability or age, or whatever spurious grounds for discrimination might be applied elsewhere (as exemplified by the ‘Good Samaritan’ parable in which a Philistine in trouble was helped by a Samaritan despite a situation of war between the two tribes).

And we recognise that these essential Christian values are shared by people with other religious beliefs and by people with no religious beliefs. Our fellowship is based on values not belief.

Our constitution commits us to other ways of expressing aspects of these values, like the Community Learning and Development values of:

  • self-determination – respecting the individual and valuing the right of people to make their own choices.
  • inclusion – valuing equality of both opportunity and outcome, and challenging discriminatory practice.
  • empowerment – increasing the ability of individuals and groups to influence issues that affect them and their communities through individual and/ or collective action.
  • working collaboratively – maximising collaborative working relationships in partnerships between the many agencies which contribute to CLD, including collaborative work with participants, learners and communities.
  • promotion of learning as a lifelong activity – ensuring that individuals are aware of a range of learning opportunities and are able to access relevant options at any stage of their life.

Another way of expressing our values is that what we want for the young poeple we work with is for them to achieve Scotland’s National Youth Work Outcomes – that young people:

  • are confident, resilient and optimistic for the future;
  • manage personal, social and formal relationships;
  • create, describe and apply their learning and skills;
  • participate safely and effectively in groups;
  • consider risk, make reasoned decisions and take control;
  • express their voice and demonstrate social commitment; and
  • broaden their perspectives through new experiences and thinking

If you share our values and you care about supporting young people to develop character and skills, we’d like you to think about joining us. It’ll cost you nothing but a little bit of time and interest 🙂