Who are we !

History of Larne YMCA

Larne YMCA was formed in 1982 and was located in rented premises in Quay street Larne. The original YMCA was opened to young people in Larne between the ages of 11 and 25 opening 4 evening a week. It initially opened with a part time youth Leader, Eddie Brownlee , 2 session staff and a small number of volunteers. The organization was led by Jim Penny as the first chairperson and Mrs. Susan Johnston as honorary secretary. Mrs Johnson went on to be the first honorary president of Larne YMCA. They were supported by a volunteer board of Trustees dedicated to the work of the YMCA and the provision of a safe space for young people to grow and develop in.

Its mission was and continues to be ;

  • Work with young people and their families developing their physical, mental or spiritual capacities.

  • To promote healthy living including emotional, mental and spiritual well-being through the provision of information, education and activities

  • To promote good community relations and active citizenship for young people and their families.

  • To reach out and help people of all ages who are in need or hardship due to their social, physical or economic circumstances.

Larne YMCA was and still is affiliated to YMCA Ireland and the World Alliance of YMCA . The First General secretary of the YMCA was Joy McNally, who stayed with Larne YMCA until 2019. The YMCA was located in the Quay street premises for 18 years before moving to its current purpose built property in 2000. Memorable moments in Quay street were :

  • Collapse of old McNeill Hotel onto Quay street premises, fortunately no one was hurt.

  • Start of monthly prayer times involving people with a concern for the young people of Larne. (They still go on today the first Saturday of the month at 8.00am)

  • Graeme Nixon's , a volunteer with the YMCA, passion for Custard Creams.

  • The same Graeme Nixon comforting a woman stuck on a fairground ride in USA whilst on a youth experience program.

  • The first anti sectarianism session ran in the YMCA ,involving Tony Macaulay and Sisters Olcan & Katherine from the Drumalis retreat center.

  • Robert Alexander MBE (as Chairman) driving the move to be more inclusive in every sense of the word.

Since moving to the present premises Larne YMCA has grown considerably, extending its youth and family provision to fill the building 6 days a week. The YMCA opened an after schools facility in 2003 which can accommodate 50 young people and which continues in operation today. It also worked with partners in the Larne area for community development and reconciliation. This helped considerably, post the Belfast agreement, in reducing community tensions in the Larne area. The YMCA became a limited company registered with companies house in May 2008 and registered as a charity with the N Ireland Charities commission in Nov 2014 and is Charity no. 100901.

Joy McNally

Joy was the first General secretary of Larne YMCA and led much of the organizations growth. The photo was taken on a walk for Christian Aid in 2007

Picture of Sr Katherine and Sr Olcan with Brother Huxley, of Sri Lankan YMCA, when he visited Larne YMCA and Drumalis in November 2000 . Sr Olcan was a past President of Larne YMCA

Young people on one of the first residential run from our current premises in Pound Street -2001

From here you can go and meet our staff team

From here you can meet Larne YMCA's Directors and Trustees.

Important documents

Child Protection Statement.pdf

Child protection statement