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YHA Schools Minister declares England’s newest Youth Hostel open
    12/06/2013 09:10

Schools Minister declares England’s newest Youth Hostel open

YHA’s newest Youth Hostel, YHA South Downs, was officially opened by the Rt. Hon David Laws MP, Minister of State for Schools, on Tuesday 11th June 2013. Mr Laws marked the occasion with a tree planting ceremony in the grounds of the Youth Hostel

The official opening recognised the £5 million investment in the former 13th Century Itford Farm to create a world-class 68-bed Youth Hostel and learning resource for young people to explore the South Downs National Park and enhance their learning education.

Schools Minister David Laws said: "I am delighted to officially open the YHA South Downs Youth Hostel. Learning outside the classroom can form an important part of a broad and balanced curriculum and the excellent facilities at the South Downs Youth Hostel will give many young people the chance to enjoy outdoor experiences that build on the knowledge they gain through lessons."

Norman Baker MP for Lewes added: “Having visited the hostel at the beginning of February, just before its completion, I was very impressed by what I saw. Its excellent location will mean that young people will have a great opportunity to explore the natural habitat to enhance their learning and I am pleased that my Lib Dem colleague and Education Minister David Laws could attend to show his support for the facility. Encouraging youngsters to get out into the countryside is one of the best ways to ensure that they value the importance of nature and the role that it plays in creating a better environment for us all.”

YHA Chief Executive Caroline White said: “The accommodation and resources at YHA South Downs are world-class and enable us to provide a unique experience in the South Downs, particularly to young people through outdoor education. YHA South Downs joins our increasing network of great value, modern and comfortable hostels that are open to everyone.”

YHA South Downs’ commitment to providing exemplary learning experiences for children and young people was recently recognised by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC), when it was awarded the prestigious Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge. The accreditation highlights the hostel’s commitment to ensuring quality, safe and curriculum-linked learning experiences.

Facilities at YHA South Downs, coupled with its prime location on the South Downs Way National Trail, next to Southease Railway Station, is already making the Youth Hostel a popular destination with members of the local community, schools and tourists from both the UK and overseas. In the first month of opening alone, the Youth Hostel accommodated nearly 1,000 overnight stays as well as welcoming many guests to its Courtyard Café and interpretation centre.

In addition to investment from YHA, the development of the Youth Hostel, Courtyard Café and Interpretation centre has been made possible thanks to a number of generous grants and donations, including Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the South Downs National Park Sustainable Communities Fund the SE Regional Development Agency, Viridor Waste Management, The Veolia Environmental Trust through the Landfill Communities Fund, , East Sussex County Council, the Highway Agency and Active Lewes, Greenbank Trust and the site’s original owners, the Rees family.

The development of the Youth Hostel was part of the youth hostelling charity’s capital investment programme. Over the past five years YHA (England and Wales) has invested £19.5 million to create a network of world-class Youth Hostels, which include en suite bedrooms, honeymoon suites, licensed bars, restaurants and educational facilities. Since the beginning of the year, YHA has invested £10 million in its 160+ strong network.

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