The future of youth hostelling lies in the hands of local MPs.
YHA (England & Wales) has joined voices with colleagues from across the independent hostels sector to lead the plea for MPs to add their signature to a tabled motion in Parliament. The motion asks the government for help to survive winter amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Liz Saville-Roberts MP and Group Leader of Plaid Cymru in the House of Commons has tabled a motion in Parliament which any MP can add their signature of support to.
The motion asks the Government to underpin health measures with economic support and urgently put packages of support in place for the hostel sector.
Hundreds of hostels and bunkhouses throughout the UK have been forced to close during the pandemic having a catastrophic effect on income and jobs in the sector particularly in rural parts of the UK.
YHA, which operates 153 youth hostels in England and Wales, has suffered a £30 million (75%) drop in income since March, making it the worst ever year in the charity’s 90-year history.
Despite hopes of a vaccine by the end of the year, many hostels and bunkhouses will be unable to recover financially during the winter months in order to sustain them until spring.
Hostels and bunkhouses now need support from the Government to get them though the winter and to ensure that this unique form accommodation will be around to provide low cost accommodation for healthy outdoor holidays and school residential trips in 2021. While furlough and other government support has been welcome hostelling – based as it is on sharing and on communities coming together – faces some very specific threats.
The Early Days Motion states that ‘hostels are often used by people who intend to take part in outdoor activities and that ensuring that people can still access healthy outdoor holidays at accessible prices will be important after the Covid-19 outbreak.’
YHA believes that hostelling, as it did at the end of World War 2, will play a key role in the recovery of society – helping people reconnect with each other, the outdoors, nature, culture and heritage.
Anita Kerwin-Nye, Director of Strategy and Engagement at YHA (England & Wales) explained: “Hostelling is a movement based on sharing. Sharing spaces, sharing ideas and sharing joy of nature, outdoors and heritage. Affordable travel is needed now more than ever.”
To date the Early Days Motion 1100 Support for Hostels, which was tabled on 4 November, has received support from 20 MPs to date, including:
- Liz Saville-Roberts – Plaid Cymru
- Hywel Williams – Plaid Cymru
- Patrick Grady – Scottish National Party
- Ben Lake – Plaid Cymru
- John McDonnell – Labour
- Lloyd Russell-Moyle – Labour
- Diane Abbott – Labour
- Tim Farron – Liberal Democrat
- Jamie Stone – Liberal Democrat
- Jonathan Edwards – Independent
- Marion Fellows – Scottish National Party
- Brendan O’Hara – Scottish National Party
- John Nicolson – Scottish National Party
- Chris Stephens – Scottish National Party
- Steve Wishart – Scottish National Party
- Jim Shannon, Democratic Unionist Party
- Wendy Chamberlain – Liberal Democrat
- Alyn Smith – Scottish National Party
- Richard Thompson – Scottish National Party
- Caroline Lucas – Green Party
To support the survival of youth hostels and bunk houses in a post-COVD world, email your local MP and ask them to support the Early Days Motion 1100 Support for Hostels.