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YHA welcomes Government pledge to boost access to nature for young people in Eng

Press Release



29 November 2023



YHA welcomes Government pledge toboost access to nature for young people in England

Further £2.5million pledged to build on success of Generation Green project


YHA (England & Wales) has warmly welcomed the Government's announcement that young people will be a cornerstone of their pledge to improve access to nature ahead of COP28.

The new package of measures announced by the Government on Wednesday 29 November, include more funding to connect children with nature, building on the success of the ground-breaking Generation Green project which was led by YHA.

The 16-month Defra-funded Generation Green project was delivered by the not-for-profit Access Unlimited coalition, comprising YHA, Girlguiding, Scouts, Field Studies Council, The Outward Bound Trust, and the 10 National Parks in England. The project opened up 118,000 positive life-impacting opportunities for children to access and connect to nature.

The Government has now pledged a further £2.5 million to connect more children from under-represented groups. The funding will help deliver the Government's commitment set out in the Environmental Improvement Plan for everyone to be within 15 minutes of a green space or water and to reduce barriers to access. This builds on research from the DefraLandscapes Reviewundertaken by Julian Glover, which confirms that 18% of children living in the most deprived areas never visit nature at all. 

James Blake, Chief Executive of YHA (England & Wales) said: "This is very positive news and an important commitment by the Government which recognises that access to nature is key to young people.

"We are pleased to see the success of Generation Green recognised - having seen first-hand how it has helped to ensure over 115,000 young people see for themselves the importance of nature and help realise Julian Glover's vision of every child being able to have a night under the stars.

"Set within the context of climate change, it has never been more important that the next generations fall in love with nature and are given opportunities to visit it.

"We look forward to seeing more detail from the Government and working with them on next steps."

YHA will be working with its partners and the Government to continue to make sure young people have these opportunities.



About YHA (England & Wales)


YHA (England & Wales) is a leading youth charity with a 93-year history of making travel and adventure accessible to all, especially young people. Operating multiplelocations throughout 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. The2021/22 Impact Reviewcan be downloaded here

HA is leading the 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 Green - project. The project connected more than 115,000young people to nature, created and saved jobs, and built an aspirant workforce for a green recovery.  Download and read the Generation Green Celebration and Impact Report at

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.

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.

 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