Malcolm Barham: Making a real difference

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When you’re in the business of supporting people through their most testing life challenges and bringing solutions to communities in need, there’s a very real gravity in your ability to attain growth, success and sustainability.

To achieve this, you must make tough decisions, waste no time re-setting the bar and be prepared to change, says the Chief Executive of YMCA Lincolnshire, one of the county’s biggest and oldest non-profit organisations.

This feature interview was first published in issue 94 of the Lincolnshire Business weekly magazine, now available to read at Subscribe to the email newsletter to receive the latest edition in your inbox this Friday.


Malcolm Barham, 54, might know how to have fun, with a quick spin on his motorbike, a round of golf and a weekend in the mud at Glastonbury; but he gets equal enjoyment out of seeing the 147-year-old Lincoln-based social enterprise changing lives in the county and beyond. His determination must have been what the doctor ordered as in his almost 30 year tenure at the organisation he has seen an outlook of “financial ruin” transformed into one of the biggest employers in the city with a £3 million turnover.

With commercial expansion on the horizon and a £3 million homeless shelter just a few pushes away from drastically improving the offer of emergency housing and support in the city, Malcolm has a lot on his plate. Amazingly though, he still finds time to oversee life-changing community and education projects in Romania, and invest his time heavily in making sure the YMCA team are challenged, happy and singing from the same hymn sheet.

Malcolm Barham, Chief Executive for Lincolnshire YMCA. Photo: Steve Smailes

Malcolm Barham, Chief Executive for Lincolnshire YMCA. Photo: Steve Smailes

When reminded of his years of commitment to the cause, Malcolm says it’s all quite “frightening”. “Firstly,” he explained, “because it doesn’t feel like it, and secondly because it’s just really enjoyable. You’re doing things that impact people’s lives and that’s what charities are all about.

“I’m most proud of the fact I took a really struggling organisation that was in financial trouble to one which is stable and respected in the community, does really good work and is noted for its quality.”

We caught up with Malcolm just weeks after he was named as an IoD Awards winner for the Public/Third Sector, and as the charity sits a heartbeat away from hearing whether it’s won YMCA of the Year in the prestigious 2016 Youth Matters Awards.

Continue reading the full cover interview with Malcolm Barham in issue 94.

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