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YHA YHA AGM 2016 - CEO Caroline White
    05/09/2016 01:53

YHA AGM 2016 - CEO Caroline White

YHA AGM 2016 - CEO Caroline White

Probably the most pressured speech I give is the one at the AGM where not only is there an expectation that it should be better than the previous year but also it has to hit the right note. No room for getting it wrong then or having a bad day!

I started thinking about my speech while watching Masterchef. If you watch it they never serve a wonderful steaming bowl of apple crumble and custard – it will be a deconstructed apple crumble – a plate with some backed apple, apple fritter, apple puree, a crumble biscuit, and never a dollop of custard, rather an artistic swoosh across the plate. So watching this I thought I would deconstruct the charitable object which is in our articles to show how well YHA is doing against that object.

“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 accommodation for them in their travels and...thus to promote their health recreation and education.”

The charitable object is our touchstone. It tells us who we are for, it tells us where we work, it tells us how we do it, and most importantly it tells us why we exist.

So, how are we doing? YHA has always welcomed everyone and you will find the old signs on some of our buildings saying we welcome everyone whatever their race or creed. But our focus is young people as we have to connect and engage the next generation. We have reached 29% more young people this year. Nearly 700,000 and 15,000 were young people of limited means. We provide opportunities for young people in both the countryside and the cities – we offer nature and culture. We own and manage 122 hostels of which 80% are in the rural network. There are a further 61 enterprise or affiliates sites. And we have been expanding our alternative accommodation in over 20 sites.

The last part of the charitable object tells us why we exist “to promote health, recreation and education." The work we are doing on impact is able to demonstrate the difference we are making to the lives and futures of young people whether staying or volunteering with us. Do take time to read the latest impact review.

But when all is said and done nothing tastes better than a bowl of steaming apple crumble – the deconstructed one will never compete. And so it is with our charitable object, the sum of the parts is so much stronger than the individual elements.

YHA creates opportunities for young people that is what makes us special and what makes us unique.

Ps. Thanks to the teams in the north for sending in apple crumble pictures for my speech – I especially like the one from YHA Buttermere with the stormtroopers.

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