Larkhall has had a YMCA for well over 100 years and this is noted in the History Pages of this website;

"Larkhall YMCA was established in 1897 in the rooms above what is now Semi Chem in Union Street. Early in the 1900s the organization moved to Caledonian Road after buying the land between King Street and the Police Station boundary wall from the Caledonian Railway Company. Shortly after World War One the YMCA sold the building which it had built on this land to two local businessmen, who were also YMCA members, and the YMCA moved into barracks erected on the current site that had been purchased from the Army. The two businessmen then sold the building to the Royal Mail who used it as town’s main post office until the late 1970's. By the 1960s the barracks were in a very poor condition, so the YMCA Board embarked on the fund raising and construction project that produced the modern building, which was completed in 1970."
- Willie Mowbray 2023

Anyone joining the Harriers automatically becomes a member of Larkhall YMCA which is part of the YMCA Scotland Federation.
The main aim of YMCA Scotland is to set up quality programmes that provide an environment in which young people especially can develop physically, socially, mentally and spiritually. Of course as a running club we concentrate mainly on the first three development aims.
However as a part of our remit, it’s important that we should try and play a role in helping our members become/remain good citizens in the widest sense of the concept.
With this in mind, our spiritual emphasis manifests itself in our promotion of the idea that, once you become a member of our Association, you should learn to accept and respect every member as an individual; whether or not they share the same ideas, talents, religion, social or economic background, creed or colour as yourself. In short we will consciously promote the belief that we should tolerate and care for each other at all times.
Through this simple idea we will aim to reinforce continually in members’ minds the fact that although they have primarily joined a local YMCA, it’s one that is part of a worldwide organization whose fundamental aim is youth development in its widest sense.



Four Pillars


Below you can find out about the work YMCA Scotland does in relation the 4 pillars outlined in World YMCA’s Vision 2030, in addition to faith and our National Programme. Click on any of the blocks below to be redirected to a page with more information. More about World YMCA’s Vision 2030 and its goals, can be found here. As well as at the foot of this page.


The Four Pillars

Core Belief

The YMCA believes that every person should have the means to grow and thrive in body, mind and spirit while taking care of their individual and collective wellbeing.

Core Belief

The YMCA Movement believes that all young people deserve the right to learn, engage in flexible, dignified and meaningful work, and build sustainable livelihoods.

Core Belief

The YMCA believes that we should all commit and take action for the protection and regeneration of our Planet, preparing for a Just Transition to a world where humans live in full harmony with creation.

Core Belief

The YMCA believes in the power of young people and communities to promote and advance justice, peace, equity and human rights for all.

Community wellbeing

Our Goals

  1. Creating safe community spaces & reducing isolation. Across Scotland our YMCAs will provide safe spaces for individuals to connect, meet, take part in activities and contribute to the wellbeing of their community. YMCA Housing will provide safe and supported accommodation for homeless young people.

  2. Improving mental wellbeing. YMCA youth work and sports clubs will provide universal access to programmes that support good health and mental wellbeing. We will scale and replicate our targeted mental health mentoring programme to provide 1:1 early intervention support to more young people across more communities in Scotland.

  3. Improving family relationships. Our YMCAs will provide mentoring for young people alongside family interventions and mediation, to improve family relationships for children, young people and their families

meaningful work

Our Goals

  1. Improving life-skills and employability skills. Across Scotland we will provide young people with training and support to increase their life skills and employability skills. We will roll out leadership training and our micro-credential programmes, providing increased access to flexible and accredited learning for young people.

  2. Improving and increasing digital literacy. As a Life Changes Trust Digital Legacy partner, we will work with care experienced young people across Scotland to create digital maker spaces that provide increased access to digital learning, creativity and entrepreneurial opportunities.

  3. Improving educational attainment. Our YMCAs will provide school transition and support programmes, mentoring, befriending and out of school activities that support young people to reach their full educational potential.

sustainable plannet

Our Goals

  1. Becoming a net-zero YMCA in Scotland. We will actively work with our local YMCAs to measure and reduce our collective carbon footprint, contributing to Scotland’s aim becoming a net zero society by 2045. We will support YMCAs to develop and use more outdoor spaces for activities and learning.

  2. Improving sustainability of YMCAs. We will support our local YMCAs on a journey towards greater sustainability. We will develop strategic partnerships on behalf of YMCAs that enable the adoption of sustainable practices in all areas of YMCA operations.

  3. Increasing community climate activities. We will support young people to develop and implement their own community-based youth led solutions to climate change. We will support young people’s learning and activism through accessing global training opportunities, outdoor education and experiences including COP meetings.

A just world

Our Goals

  1. Embedding UNCRC in our programmes. We will actively support all our YMCAs to embed a UNCRC approach within all their policies and practices. We will amplify the voice of young people, advocating with and for them on issues of justice and equity.

  2. Reducing poverty related gaps in health & education.  Across Scotland our YMCAs will continue to support those communities most in need. We will support them to develop programmes that enable families to access healthy food, affordable childcare and regular physical activity. We will work with our YMCAs to deliver excellence in mentoring, befriending and out of school activity programmes that target those young people least likely to thrive in a school setting.

  3. Increase awareness and action on global inequity. We will support the work of YCare International and our global YMCA partners, responding to issues of global inequity, injustice and disaster.