An End of Year Message from Paisley YMCA – 2022

2022 was a transformative year for Paisley YMCA. Following the re-opening of our space in 2021, we continued to develop our space and expand our youth work and support even further into the community. We developed a youth work schedule consisting of our free youth work clubs with a significant increase in registration and plenty of new faces!

We introduced new equipment for our space including podcast microphones and soundboard, printing and mug press, vinyl cutter, new craft materials and gaming equipment. We also began exciting new projects including collaborations with Paisley Museum and other Paisley youth groups, hosted our first hackathon, grew our very own food on our smart gardens in the window of our space, our Summer of Fun programme and many of our older young people becoming volunteers. We also added new elements to our existing clubs such as the addition of Dungeons and Dragons to our Saturday gaming club, STEM and coding projects to develop new technical skills and expansion on the activities young people can access in our space, as well as expanding our social media reach gaining new followers and traction.

We also developed a group for adults in Paisley to develop their technical skills and spend time with others called Connecting Communities. Our priorities are primarily youth work and young people but we view this club as another step of reaching out to the Paisley community to offer free support and care to those in need. As we reflect on the year, we look back with the perspective of how much we have developed since re-opening our doors following the impact of the fire that destroyed our makerspace in 2020 and the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We approached this year as one of healing and growth and we intend to carry that energy forward as this year comes to an end and another new beginning opens up.

We would like to thank our staff, members, funders, collaborators and most importantly our young people for helping us to rebuild and expand upon what we can offer to the community of Paisley and East Renfrewshire. As we begin our journey into 2023, we intend to continue our projects and ambitions to make Paisley YMCA a safe, welcoming and fun place for all to visit. We can’t wait to see faces old and new in our space in 2023!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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!