Official statement

As a charity that is open to all, we are committed to ensuring that everyone can enjoy a stay with us. We constantly review our access policies to ensure that everyone has fair and equal access to our services and that we operate within the law. 1 million people stay with us each year in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment.

We that this is a debate with strong and heartfelt views on all sides which we hear. We have a long tradition of meeting the needs of all guests with a flexible and sensitive approach that reflects our charity values.

Guests who want to access our services do not have to stay in shared accommodation. We have a range of private rooms, including en-suite which allow us to be flexible in our approach to meet the needs of everyone./p>

We understand for some people their personal circumstances mean that sharing a room with someone born the opposite sex causes concerns. This is why - in such cases - we consider applying exemptions in the Equality Act 2010 (Schedule 3 paragraph 28 and Schedule 23 paragraph 3) which relate to communal accommodation; specifically, sleeping facilities.

In recent days some people have expressed concern at the way those who want to stay with us can talk to us about these personal circumstances. We have heard these concerns and have reviewed our practice. One specific concern is that we would request specific details of abuse in order for us to apply the exemptions. This was never our intention and we would like to apologise for any upset caused.

For those who do not wish to share accommodation with people they have not met before, our hostels have private accommodation available to them. This can often be the cheapest way to stay with us when travelling with friends or as part of a group. Booking this private accommodation can be done online or phone using our standard booking processes.

We invite those who don’t want to use a private room but have concerns about sharing accommodation with people that they don’t know to get in touch with us in advance. This includes those who wish to apply the exemptions under the Equality Act. Staff are trained in handling individual requests, and subject to availability, we are able to accommodate single guests in a private room.

Everyone staying with us in any type of room is required to present identification regardless of their sex or gender. If we believe that individuals are not genuinely who they claim to be, for whatever reason, then we reserve the right to deny access to any, or all, of our services. If we find individuals are trying to gain access to spaces they should not be in they will be excluded from using our network.

Inclusivity and access are core priorities for YHA. We continuously review our position and documentation to ensure we not only remain compliant with the law but provide the best experience for our wide and diverse customer base in line with our charitable mission and values.