Our impact


Travel and adventure, spending time amongst nature, access to the arts and culture, volunteering, training and employment, these all improve people’s health, wellbeing and life chances.

Despite the known benefits, inequality of opportunity and barriers to participation prevent people – particularly young people – from accessing crucial enrichment experiences.

This is how we help

Every day, we welcome thousands to stay with us. Through our 150-strong network of hostels we deliver memorable, meaningful experiences of adventure and discovery. These experiences have a measurable impact.

Our 2019/20 impact review demonstrates how we make the most of our hostels and capabilities for the benefit of all and — in particular — how we improve outcomes related to health, wellbeing and life-chances for young people and families who face challenges and disadvantage in their lives.

A history of social impact

In 1930, YHA was born of social reform and a determination to improve the lives and prospects of young people living in crowded, polluted cities, and lacking adventure and fresh air. Today, that’s a situation many young people still find themselves in. Yet there are additional, complex challenges. Physical inactivity poses major health risks. More children and young people are experiencing mental health problems. The attainment gap between affluent and low-income pupils has grown. The route into employment is fraught with difficulty. Community and family cohesion are under threat. It’s in these areas, at 90, that YHA makes all the difference.


1.46 million families struggle to fund a day out together

One in two women and one in three men are damaging their health through a lack of physical activity

40% of young people experience at least one mental health disorder by age 16

788,000 young people are not in employment education and training


In 2019/20

1,049,522 guests used YHA as their affordable base to follow active pursuits

415,488 of these were young people

150,000 young people went on a residential with their school or youth group

4,875 young people and families with challenging lives received a supported break

1,040 young people volunteered

Download your copy

Inside our impact review, you’ll find a bank of evidence that includes a number of case studies. Here’s a selection of supporting videos to demonstrate the difference we make as a charity for young people.

Saif and Atheer

Saif and his father fled to the UK from Syria, clinging to the underside of a lorry. They were granted asylum three years ago yet only reunited with the rest of their family last summer. Look at what happened when the family joined other families facing hardship, on a free activity weekend.

MYHRE syndrome families

MYHRE syndrome is an extremely rare genetic disorder caused by a mutation in the SMAD4 gene. Only 60 cases of MYHRE syndrome have been reported worldwide. YHA helped 10 families create lasting memories and connect with each other so they no longer feel alone.


At six weeks old Fred was diagnosed with a progressive eye condition that may eventually cost him his sight. Now eight, Fred’s on a mission to see as much as possible while he can. Thanks to our supporters, Fred’s family made precious memories on a much-needed break to YHA Boggle Hole.

Pitcheroak Sixth Form

Staying away from home for the first time is a big deal, especially for those with additional learning needs. For students at Pitcheroak Sixth Form, that milestone moment came when they went on a break to YHA Cheddar. Here’s what it meant to them.

Support YHA

Every day we see the benefits of YHA’s programmes and activities on physical and mental health. And we see first-hand the impact of residential breaks on young people’s abilities to develop their social skills, self-confidence, resilience and relationships. Thanks to our supporters, our targeted programmes are reaching those with the fewest opportunities and the most to gain from travel and adventure.

Thank you for helping us make a difference to so many already. Can you help us do more?

Support YHA