Group of happy children

Physical & Mental Health Benefits


This year 95,446 families took a break with YHA, 433,284 individuals also stayed with us and together we recorded 1,190,335 overnights.

  • 1 in 5 children leaving primary school are obese
  • 40% of young people experience a mental health issue by aged 16 years
  • 800,000 young people live with a disability of are fighting a life threatening illness
  • 178,000 young people having caring responsibilities at home

We believe young people’s health matters. Too many children are growing up with health issues that will negatively impact their futures. We are committed to doing what we can to overcome health-related challenges and barriers to participation.

At YHA we offer a range of active residentials to introduce participants to new sports, activities and outdoor pursuits. These are proven to improve fitness and self-esteem and help establish healthy lifestyles for the future.

Our research shows that 61% of guests feel their wellbeing and enjoyment improved during their stay. This is even higher for guests to countryside hostels where 70% of people staying with us in the Lake District said their wellbeing and enjoyment improved.

Just having time away in a relaxed atmosphere means you can de-stress and go back home refreshed even if you were only away for a night!

Guest at YHA Boggle Hole, December 2016

Our flagship six-week YHA Summer Camps programme welcomed 800 young people this year, and gives young people access to new activities and sports and a supportive environment to overcome fears, stretch themselves and grow in confidence. 78% surveyed said they really enjoyed the opportunity to try new activities and 78% said making friends was one of the most enjoyable activities showing the powerful benefits to young people’s sense of wellbeing.

Camp made me more independent, I made decisions about what to wear and how much to eat. I also tried new activities and, like a giraffe, I stretched my neck!

Jamal, aged 10

Health key outcomes

We found that 70% felt that their well-being and enjoyment improved after their stay, and 46% of young people exercised more during camp than they would have at home.

Can you help us do even more?

2.17 million children miss out on a break from their difficult lives and 1.46 million families struggle to fund a day out together. A regular gift of £10 a month could help a child fighting cancer to paddle in the sea for the first time or give a young carer some respite from their responsibilities at home.

Donate now