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YHA Update from Karl
    06/04/2011 03:02

Update from Karl

Kindly provided by Karl Shepherdson

It's been an eventful few months since I last wrote a blog. I’ve been keeping in touch with all my YHA colleagues in the UK, including video conferences, but for the time being I’m still on Ascension Island with my paid employment – but I’m already about half way through. The good news is I’m making a quick dash back to the UK in April for a spot of rest and relaxation, but in the same breath I’m heading into London to meet with Caroline our Chief Executive, to catch a bit of theatre and also spend a night at the newly refurbished YHA Oxford Street. I should also get an overnight in at YHA Stow on Wold in the Cotswolds on the way home too. I’m looking forward to seeing our new website up and running soon in the next couple of months. I got an advanced copy of the new 2011 guide too, which is a useful mix of things to do ideas, colour photos and practical information, like grid references. The handbook and website will probably be the first glimpse of the refreshed branding for most people. I’m sure you’ll like it as we have kept our forest green colour and triangle shape. New branded bedding is rolling out to the network as I type too. The samples I’ve seen make bedrooms more colourful and welcoming. Even YHA National Office has had a repaint in new branded bright shades of paint, thanks to some brilliant voluntary staff effort. Its never easy announcing youth hostel closures. I have an emotional bond with many of our beautiful locations and buildings and I know closures impact on peoples lives in all kinds of ways. I can assure you the Board takes these kind of discussions very seriously. We are striving for a financially sustainable network which continues to fulfil our charitable object and vision to reach out and enhance the lives of all young people. We are investing the money from property sales back into the network and at the same time always keeping an eye on our costs. Some old YHA buildings get reopened by others and we are currently working on how we move our franchise ‘Enterprise’ scheme forward to make sure we continue to reach as many parts of England and Wales as we can. Youth Hostels open and close. YHA Berwick has just opened in North East England and we have agreed to move our YHA Castleton operation into Losehill Hall in the Peak District. Investment has been agreed for many small youth hostels, such as Black Sail, Tintagel, and Rowen for example. I continue to be really pleased with the performance of YHA. We have a great team throughout the charity and I continue to amazed at what we achieve everyday. I was sent an audio file by email the other day. It contained a glorious 1 minute and 30 seconds of music, which I think has been called the ‘YHA Song’. I’d not heard it before but it sounds like a late 1980’s pop song on an electronic keyboard. Its got a catchy rhythm I’ve been whistling all day long. I’m trying to convince the powers that be we should get it on the website for all to enjoy!

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