Tim Loughton MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, has praised the national youth hostel charity, YHA (England Wales), for being unofficial pioneers of the Government’s big society and new National Citizen Service. His comments came at the opening of YHA’s new flagship £2 million hostel, Losehill Hall in Castleton, Derbyshire.
He said: “YHA, and the hands-on experiences it offers children through its Youth Hostel network, gives young people real life experience. It triggers their imagination, encourages teamwork and really brings them out of their shells. It is a great example of the National Citizen Service in action.”
Losehill Hall was previously owned and run by the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) as an education centre. It was purchased from PDNPA by YHA in 2011 and has undergone an extensive 12-month refurbishment programme to transform it into a 144-bed, 36 room environmental learning, residential and activity centre for young people and holiday-makers.
YHA (England and Wales) Chief Executive Caroline White said: “YHA Castleton Losehill Hall sets the benchmark for Youth Hostels throughout England and Wales. The accommodation and resources are second-to-none and enable us to continue providing a really unique experience in the countryside to our users.
“Our vision, to reach out and enhance the lives of young people, doesn’t end with the opening of Losehill Hall; we want to double the number of young people who experience YHA, its sense of sociability and community, and all that it can offer them and their families.”
More than 200 children from six schools were on site taking part in learning-based activities during the minister’s visit to YHA Castleton Losehill Hall. Activities at the Youth Hostel include archery, gem panning, battle re-enactment and beer making at the Hostel’s onsite brewery as part of GCSE Science projects.
Mr Loughton MP commented: “YHA, and the activities it provides young people, is a great example of how kids’ imaginations can be inspired and engaged without the use of computer games and DVDs.”
While re-enacting a battle scene with Year 3 youngsters from Lower Place School in Rochdale, at the opening, Mr Loughton also commented that it was; “refreshing to see Health & Safety policy not preventing kids doing what they do naturally.”
With prices starting from as little as £18 per night, it is expected the resources and accommodation at YHA Castleton Losehill Hall, will be used by around 22,000 people, more than half of who are expected to be young people, over the next 12 months.
YHA Castleton Losehill Hall stands in beautiful formal gardens and is surrounded by 27 acres of peaceful parkland with woods and streams. As well as running educational activities, YHA Castleton Losehill Hall offers a huge programme of outdoor and indoor activities for young people and families throughout the year.
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