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YHA Defra Minister recognises YHA’s contribution to Lake District National Park
    14/06/2013 08:49

Defra Minister recognises YHA’s contribution to Lake District National Park

YHA’s investment and partnership with the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) has been recognised by the Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, the Rt Hon Richard Benyon MP.

Mr Benyon, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was at YHA’s largest Youth Hostel in the Lake District, YHA Ambleside, to learn more about the Rural Growth Fund in Cumbria.

As part of the visit, he met with business representatives from the Outdoor Industries Working Group and LDNPA’s Adventure Capital (Ad Cap) Programme, where he discovered how YHA (England and Wales) is committed to introducing people to national parks and giving people, especially youngsters, the opportunity to learn about and understand the natural environment.

The minister met with staff, guests and visiting schools at YHA Ambleside, and was given a tour of the 240-bed Youth Hostel which has recently undergone a £1.4 million refurbishment The substantial investment by the youth hostelling charity at YHA Ambleside, has created en suite accommodation, private family rooms, a licensed restaurant and education facilities, bringing it in-line with YHA’s modern service offering.

Richard Benyon, Minister for the Environment, said while visiting the YHA Ambleside: “It’s great to see such investment in YHA Ambleside, which provides fantastic facilities for locals and visitors to enjoy the beautiful Lake District National Park. I was particularly impressed by the conference centre, which shows that this forward-thinking business is looking beyond traditional revenue streams to help boost economic growth across the region.”

The Lake District National Park has the highest concentration of hostels in one National Park. There are 20 Youth Hostels owned and operated by YHA (England and Wales) alone in the Lake District accounting for 200,000 of the overnight stays in the National Park each year with a quarter of these at YHA Ambleside.

Duncan Simpson, YHA (England and Wales) Head of Corporate Affairs, said: “The Youth Hostel showcases the high quality; great value accommodation YHA offers the local community, tourists and schools in the Lake District. I am delighted Mr Benyon took time out his busy schedule to see for himself just how YHA Ambleside and Youth Hostels in general have changed in recent years and the important role they play in the Lake District economy as well as National Parks in general.”

As part of the refurbishment at YHA Ambleside more washrooms and a number of premium en suite bedrooms with a lake view have been created. As well as total redecoration and furniture throughout, there is also a new reception area and more public facilities, including an education and conference space with the latest audio visual equipment and licensed cafe bar which is open to non-residents and has stunning views across Lake Windermere.

The refurbishment 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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