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YHA launches new strategy for Wales with pledge to reach more young people and c

Press Release



08 December 2022


YHA launches new strategy for Wales with pledge to reach more young people and communities

Members of the Welsh Senedd have pledged their support for YHA's(Youth Hostels Association) new strategy for Wales.

Launched on 29 November 2022 at the Senedd in Cardiff, the new strategy represents a renewed and re-prioritised focus on Wales for the 92-year-old youth charity.

The ‘YHA in Wales' strategy will position YHA as a partner in the wider wellbeing of young people and communities throughout Wales alongside its offering of affordable accommodation in historic and beautiful buildings in stunning Welsh landscapes.

Huw Irranca-Davies, MS for Ogmore, who launched YHA's new Welsh strategy, welcomed it saying: "What I love about YHA's youth hostels is that as well as being in some of the most stunning parts of Wales and the UK, they are also at the heart of the wellbeing of our communities and young people - including young-at-heart oldies like me."

The strategy has been developed over six months in consultation with more than 300 individuals and organisations, including Deaf Hub Wales, Ramblers Cymru, All Wales Forum and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Nisbah Hussain from the Muslim youth empowerment charity Equalinks, welcomed YHA's new strategy for Wales, saying: "YHA in Wales in a fantastic opportunity. I think Wales is sometimes overlooked when we are planning adventures, but it offers so much to everybody; there's something that hits everybody's needs and requirements."

James Blake, Chief Executive of YHA (England & Wales), said: "Our new strategy for Wales is not a voice in an echo chamber; we have listened to the individuals and organisations that have taken the time to contribute, and these voices have helped shape the priorities for YHA in Wales which will be delivered over the next three years. 

"With the energy and cost of living crisis, times are challenging, and we cannot deliver our ambitious strategy alone, that is why working with partners is at the heart of our approach. We believe that by working with partners who share our ambitions, we can make a real difference to the lives of children and young people across Wales."

In order to reach more young people and their families in Wales, YHA will tailor its schools and residential offer to support the implementation of the new curriculum in Wales. The charity will also increase the reach of its funded breaks, Campus and work readiness programmes across the country.

Within the strategy, YHA has made five key pledges:

  1. To strengthen the role that YHA and its hostels play in celebrating Wales' natural and cultural heritage.
  2. To improve the use of the Welsh language across the organisation.
  3. To support more young people and families living in Wales to experience adventure.
  4. To ensure YHA has the right mix of hostels in the right places in Wales, all offering quality stays.
  5. To make sure YHA's programmes and operations across the organisation consider the specific context of Wales.

At the event, YHA invited Senedd members to pledge their support to the new strategy. Support pledges were received from a number of members including Samuel Kurtz MS for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, who pledged to "signpost people to the fantastic YHA locations across West Wales, especially YHA Manorbier in my constituency."
Jenny Rathbone MS for Cardiff Central and Chair of the Equality and Social Justice Committee pledged to "work with YHA to support more young people and families to experience our countryside and affordable hostels."

Peredur Owen Griffiths, MS forSouth Wales East Region, said: "I pledge to help the YHA in their mission to connect to the rich heritage and language we are blessed to have in Wales." 

Supporting YHA's pledge to improve the use of the Welsh language across the organisation,Cefin Campbell MS for Mid and West Wales pledged to "promote the use of Welsh in youth hostels and highlight the unique heritage and culture of Wales amongst the people who visit youth hostels."

YHA's first youth hostel was established at Pennant Hall in North in 1929 ahead of YHA being formally established in 1930. Today YHA has 21 youth hostels in Wales - approximately 15% of the charity's network.

Download and read YHA in Wales  



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About YHA (England & Wales)


YHA (England & Wales) is a leading youth charity with a 92-year history of making travel and adventure accessible to all, especially young people. Operating more than150 locationsthroughout England and Wales, YHA offers a unique range of affordable accommodation including youth hostels, camping and cabins in rural, coastal and city locations.

Through its social enterprise model, revenue from YHA's hostel accommodation is directed towards its social purpose. 

Established in 1930, YHA's charitable objective remains as relevant in 2022 as it was in 1930 - ‘To help all, especially young people of limited means, to a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside, and appreciation of the cultural values of towns and cities, particularly by providing youth hostels or other simple accommodation for them in their travels, and thus to promote their health, recreation and education.'

YHA's charitable purpose is at the forefront of its 10-year strategy-Adventure. For the first time and a lifetime. Our 10-year strategy for connecting people and places.Access for All is at the heart of the strategy which will see YHA reaching more people and growing its impact, with a particular focus on those who could benefit the most. It will also establish YHA as a leading national charity and social enterprise. The strategycan be viewed and downloaded 

ThroughYHA'splaces, programmes and activities,itcreatesopportunities for everybody to connect to nature, the outdoors, culture and heritage. Welcoming solo travellers, families, groups and schools toitsamazing properties in exceptional locations,YHAdeliversmemorable, meaningful experiences that have a measurable impact.YHA's impact is documented annually in an Impact Review. The2019/20 Impact Reviewcan be downloaded here

YHA is leading the 15-strong Access Unlimited coalition which includes the 10 National Parks, Girlguiding, Scouts, Field Studies Council, and The Outward Bound Trust. Together, the not-for-profit organisations took collective action and delivered the innovative 16-month Defra-fundedGeneration Greenproject. The project connected more than 115,000young people to nature, created and saved jobs, and built an aspirant workforce for a green recovery. Download the Generation Green Impact and Celebration Report here[]

The COVID-19 pandemic hit YHA hard. The charity lost over 80% of income in 2020/21. YHA documented its response to Covid in a 64-page publication -COVID Stories. Told from the perspective of YHA's senior leadership team, hostel managers, volunteers and partners, COVID Stories covers the period March 2020 to February 2021 and documents the charity's survival and the role YHA played role through its partnerships to support society in the crisis as well as helping rebuild it post pandemic.  Download a copy here 

Many of YHA's sites are in stunning heritage properties: including a medieval castle (YHA St Briavels Castle); an Elizabethan manor house (YHA Wilderhope Manor); a Victorian mock gothic mansion (YHA Castleton Losehill Hall) and a medieval friary (YHA Beverley Friary).

YHA prides itself on providing affordable, contemporary accommodation and a life-enriching, social experience which differs from a hotel stay.

Since 2010 more than £40million has been invested in YHA's existing network of accommodation as well as the acquisition of new hostels. YHA's most recent hostel acquisition includes YHA Chester Trafford Hall which opened in July 2021.

Through access to travel, heritage, culture, outdoors and nature, YHA aims to improve outcomes related to health, wellbeing and life chances for young people and families, particularly those with challenging lives.

YHA is a leading provider of residential school trips, withmore than 80Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC)accredited sites — more than any other provider. Committed to quality outdoor education, YHA champions the national #BrilliantResidentials campaign.

Before the pandemic in 2019 - 2020

  • 1,049,522people stayed with YHA and408,027guests were aged under 26.
  • Over150,000young people accessed an affordable residential learning experience through their school or group.
  • 4,875 young people and families with challenging livesreceived free or supported breaks.
  • 1,040 young people volunteeredwith YHA.

To see the difference that YHA makes to the lives of young people and their families, visit YHA'sYouTubechannel.

Further information about YHA can be found

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For press enquiries, please contact:


Anna Melton

In the Works PR


07837 108559 / 01246 386480