Anti – Bullying Week 2022 – The Role of Youth Work

For this Anti-Bullying Week 2022, we reflect on the important role youth work plays in reaching out and supporting young people who may feel trapped and isolated from the effects of bullying.  

Bullying is an issue that affects countless amounts of young people every day and is a leading cause of depression, mental health and self-esteem issues. According to the Anti-Bullying Alliance, the theme of this year’s campaign is Reach Out; reaching out to show each other the support we need. One of the primary goals of youth work is accomplish this by providing a safe space for young people to feel comfortable opening up about what may be troubling them, including bullying.  

Organisations like ours seek to provide a friendly and inclusive environment, which is an invaluable resource for young people who may experience bullying from any environment, including digital. Bullying can take many forms, some physical and verbal but cyberbullying has also become a more pressing issue each year. Youth Worker Kieran McPhail states; 

“Bullying is still a major concern and consistent worry of young people with technology and social media making it far easier for a young person to be bullied and picked on even in the comfort of their own bedroom, a place that for many is a safe space, their haven.” 

Youth workers also play a role in helping young people to feel safe and create an open and positive environment. Club activity allows young people to meet and make new friends, get away from stresses they may feel at home or school and receive help from the effects of bullying and other social problems they may be experiencing; 


“I think youth work and in extension youth workers play an indispensable and valuable role in creating and maintaining a safe space for any and all young people, allowing young people to have a space where they can express, create and be themselves freely and without judgement. A youth worker will be there and be dependable, to listen and support a young person.” 

“Behind many of these spaces, there’s a group or organisation with youth workers who are dedicated and willing to create and maintain a culture of openness, no judgement and a space where young people will always be listened to, heard and safe in these spaces.” 

To find out more resources online that can be used to help in the Anti-Bullying campaign, please check the Anti-Bullying Alliance’s website. Together, we can all reach out to do our part to ensure as many young people as possible do not suffer due to the effects of bullying.  

This year’s October week began with a bang with our Halloween Hackathon! 🎃🎃

On 17th October, we hosted an all-day Halloween- themed Hackathon for our young people to attend! This was our first Hackathon in our current space, so we set out a plan for our young people to split into groups and come up with a campaign to tackle an issue that has been haunting them – climate change, bullying and other social/environmental issues that concern them – and their proposed campaign to present a solution. Attendance was high and we were ready to get started! 

The results were a full day of coding, creating and campaigning as our young people designed their campaigns to present at the end of the session, helped along by our dedicated youth workers. One of our favourites was the Fraudo campaign – one of our groups decided their haunting issue was the current price of Freddos and their solution was to design a competitor made with 100% soy milk for 10p. This campaign led to the development of an empire with additional products such as the Bite, the Bendy Wendy and the Tablet, cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternatives. Soon enough, some subtle advertising (described as “totally not propaganda!”) began appearing in our space and suddenly we had a craving for some Fraudos! It was a hilarious and creative campaign and we are immensely proud of our young people’s imagination.  

We also had plenty of Halloween tunes, sweets and pizza for lunch! We received some feedback from our young people as well, with comments such as “It was great, I liked the sweets!” and “I liked the Hackathon!”.  

This is hopefully the first of future Hackathons and other events we will be hosting in the future in our space and we hope to see more of our young people there! 

To sign up for our current weekly youth clubs and future events, please register on our Eventbrite. For more information and regular updates, please follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin.  

Our New Youth Club Schedule 2022 💥

We are thrilled to reveal our brand new youth club schedule following the end of our Summer of Fun 2022 Programme! This club schedule begins on the 22nd August with plans to continue until the end of 2022.

There will be four clubs running in our space every week, as well as our online Coder Dojo and Silly Coding every Thursday in partnership with Renfrewshire Libraries.

We have Mecha Mondays, where young people can come for coding and stem/tech-based activities! With our coding software and PCs, this is a great club for young people to come and develop their tech-savvy skills with our youth workers. On Wednesdays we have our mainstay favourite STEM Girls, where girls can come together for STEM-based activities and highlight the importance of representation in STEM.

We also have Future Fridays, in which our youth workers will help young people with ongoing projects and activities aimed at improving their skillset and providing access to technology and stem-based equipment they may not otherwise have access to.

Finally we have Satur-Play, an entirely game-based club focusing on any kind of game our young people would like to play. As well as technology and board games, we are also introducing Dungeons and Dragons to our list of games! One of our youth workers is an experienced and amazing Dungeon Master who knows how to create the most exciting adventure while explaining how to play along the way. Whether you’re a well-versed dragon slayer or have never played once before, we’d love to see you there!

All of these clubs in our space will run from 6pm – 8pm, except Satur-Play which runs from 1pm – 3:30pm. Details on how to register are available from our Eventbrite page. If you require any more information, please email claire@paisleyymca.scot. We hope to see you there!

Looking Back: Paisley YMCA Summer of Fun Programme 2022 ☀️

As our Summer Fun Programme enters its final week, we are thrilled at the high number of young people that have signed up and attended our weekly digital and STEM clubs each week. We are so happy to be welcoming faces old and new for some digital fun and plenty of gaming!  

We are happy to have returned to in-person youth work following an extremely challenging time. Paisley YMCA was affected greatly by both the fire that destroyed our William Street building in 2021 and the Covid-19 pandemic. The time during the pandemic meant that our clubs were moved exclusively online via Zoom, which was a hard time for both our youth workers and young people at a time of isolation. We did have some fun times answering Kahoot quizzes, though! 

Our new base at 39 High Street is where we have managed to re-establish ourselves and reach out to the community with new resources that we offer to help young people in Paisley. We have received new funding and equipment that we have been able to use to design a Summer Fun Programme this year with the aim of providing young people in Paisley with free, fun and engaging club activity using technology they may not have access to at home or via education.  

Our clubs offer a wide variety of digital skills-based learning such as regular coding clubs, helping to develop our Jacquard Loom Game to be displayed in Paisley Museum and make use of our gaming consoles and other youth work resources. For example our recent podcast studio, which allows our young people to make use of professional sound equipment to record their own podcasts talking about what is important to them.  

We also have a badge maker and heat press, which we hope to make even more use of in the future as we encourage our young people to design and create their own prints, which can be used to create items such as tote bags, mugs, t-shirts and badges. They can also play more traditional games such as Cluedo or Jenga if they wish. We also provide regular healthy snacks and plenty to juice to keep hydrated in this very warm weather! 

When asked their favourite club of the programme, one of our young people said; “The podcast club, I like talking about just anything,” and continued when asked why they came to Paisley YMCA every week of summer “I like to get out, I don’t like sitting in the house all the time and I don’t like going out that much, but I like coming here. This is part of my routine.” 

Another young person, who also had their favourite clubs, cited our Summer Programme as a great way to find some activity and fun, as opposed to staying at home; “I have really enjoyed the summer programme so far. I think my favourite bit of it is Wednesday and Friday because we’re doing a project but at some point, we can also just do our own thing. And on Friday we get to just play about and play games. 

“I want to go to YMCA because I like seeing my friends and also, it’s actually something to do instead of just sitting around the house. I go every Friday. I’ve made new friends, it’s definitely nice to come in and feel like you’re not going to be judged.” 

Our Summer success marks an important milestone for us, after setbacks and hardship in the events of the past few years. Times may have been tough, but we have persevered! We are so grateful for our incredible team of staff, trustees and volunteers. And most importantly we are grateful the young people themselves for showing up interested and excited each week, we love getting to be a part of their journey into the amazing adults they will no doubt become. Whether they are regular faces or new, we are proud of every one of them! 

Our Summer Programme will end next week and we will return to our weekly club activities in the evenings and weekends. With the popularity of our in-person coding club and our museum project, we will continue these clubs in the evenings once schools’ return. All information about our club activity can be found on our Eventbrite page or by emailing youthwork@paisleyymca.scot.  

Watch this space because while summer may be ending, we have lots of more exciting projects coming! 

Summer Begins with Our New Podcast Studio at Paisley YMCA! 🎙️

Our Summer Fun Programme has officially begun! 

For a six-week period, we will be offering free youth club activity focusing on creative projects using the new technology that we recently have set up in our Makerspace. Our first Digital Media Session this Wednesday began with the set-up of our official podcast studio in our space. Our young people have access to a professional soundboard, microphones, headphones and software. Our digital media sessions will give them the opportunity to create their own podcast sessions with their own thoughts and feelings on whatever they would like to speak about.  

This new studio provides our young people with exciting opportunities to learn about podcast development and technological skills, as well as aiding their personal development and boosting their confidence as they find their voices in a safe and encouraging environment. We are also looking forward to developing creative artistic projects, including opportunities our young people will have to design their own badges, tote bags and prints.  

We are excited for the opportunities our new equipment will create over the summer such as coding, game design, playing with sound and editing, art projects and much more! All of these activities and more can be experienced in our weekly digital media sessions, along with our coding clubs, mix of technology and creative projects and just chilling and having fun. Our clubs are free and weekly in Paisley. For more information, contact claire@paisleyymca.scot and tickets are available from Eventbrite.  

Celebrating Sma’ Shot Day with ReMode Youth! All About Our Latest Animation Project 🎥

This year in preparation for Sma’ Shot day 2022, our young people have been working on a short animation project to tell the story of how this historic day came to be. Taking place 2nd July, Sma’ Shot day celebrates the weavers of Paisley, who fought for their workers’ rights to be paid fairly for their use of the Sma’ Shot; a woven yarn used to create Paisley shawls that was invisible to the human eye but invaluable to the construction, for which the weavers were not compensated. After reaching the height of protest, their work was recognised and they gained the right be paid fairly, making a historic moment in the history of Paisley.  

In collaboration with ReMode Youth, our young people have been creating storyboards and stop motion characters to show how creatively they can tell this story of victory for those in Paisley to be paid for their valuable work.  

One of the facilitators from ReMode Youth Joseph, who has been working with our young people to show them the creative process of stop motion animation, states;  

“We’re about halfway through the project, it’s going well and we’re starting to properly get into animating. The goal of the project is trying to explore this story of Sma’ shot day, creating a simple story that encapsulates the idea of who’s in control of products […] and helping people to understand the power dynamic then between boss and employee.” 

Through the creation of sets, stop motion animation, story development and sound design, our young people are on their way to have a finished product they can be truly proud of and signifies an important day in the history of Paisley and equality.  

By the end of the 6-week project, our aim is to have the short film completed and available to watch on our social media channels. If you would like to see the completed project, follow us on Twitter (@YMCApaisley), Facebook (We Are Paisley YMCA) and Instagram (paisleyymca). It will also be shown on ReMode Youth’s social media channels, such as Instagram @remode_youth, Twitter @ReModeit and Facebook @ReMode.