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When George Williams founded the Young Men’s Christian Association in London in 1844 his aim was to bring Jesus Christ into the lives of young people who, like himself, moved to the city looking for work. 

The YMCA has throughout its history emphasised the development of Spirit, Mind and Body – with the red triangle coming to represent this balanced philosophy. 
Belfast YMCA started in 1850 as the movement spread throughout the major cities in Britain and Ireland before expanding worldwide. While changing in each generation, the YMCA retains it’s Christian ethos.

With over 30 million members we have grown into one of the largest non–governmental movements in the world. Operating in over 130 countries world wide, it is one of only two NGO’s to hold a seat at the United Nations.

The YMCA is more than an organisation with international links and contacts. The World Alliance of YMCA’s ensures that an international dimension flows through and infuses our work at all levels. It provides opportunities to experience living and working together with people from a diversity of cultures and backgrounds, and to engage in common, all–important issues for this, our shared world

YMCA in Europe
YMCA Worldwide Movement

YMCA in Ireland exists to promote and facilitate the development of young people, bringing them to faith, wholeness and maturity in Christ. The main thrust of its work in the 1990s has been to assist young people in dealing with social problems such as unemployment, substance abuse, HIV and AIDS, sectarianism and homelessness. 

There are 16 autonomous YMCA’s in Ireland, North and South of the border, each bringing a Christian response to these needs in their own local community.

Formerly based in Belfast City Centre since it began in 1850, Belfast YMCA is now based in Stranmillis on the site used as its sports grounds since the early 1900’s. Set in 14 acres, the centre is located next to the Lagan Meadows Park in south Belfast and at the end of Bladon Drive from the Malone Road and Knightsbridge Park from the Stranmillis Road. 

The centre supports the three main areas of YMCA activity:

Youth Development 
through childcare programmes and leadership development

Healthy Living 
through our health & fitness centre

Social Responsibility 
through our community relations and citizenship programmes.

Belfast YMCA is part of the YMCA Movement in Ireland, and linked to YMCA in Europe as well as the YMCA worldwide movement with over 45 million members in 125 countries

YMCA programmes are also delivered throughout schools in the greater Belfast area, most recently as the Changemakers Programme in partnership with CRIS and NICE, funded by IFI.     


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