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It’s going to be a monumental year for YHA (England & Wales), as we celebrate 90 years since the organisation was founded. That’s a lot of candles – but the year ahead isn’t about cake (at least, it’s not just about cake). We want to use our 90th anniversary year to help us raise the bar in all that we do: focusing on giving more people, particularly young people, more access to life-changing experiences that improve health, wellbeing and life skills.

To achieve this, we’ve launched our Project90 appeal, to take 90 vulnerable young people from each of the 10 regions of England and Wales on an epic adventure. That’s 900 children being given transformative two-day experiences that they’ll treasure forever – trying activities like kayaking, mountain-walking and abseiling, in some of the UK’s most spectacular corners. They’ll have the chance to grow their confidence, build their social skills and gain truly happy memories.

We have set an ambitious fundraising target. To help us reach the £250,000 required, we’re hosting exciting events up and down the network. From the spring, we’ll be kicking off a wide series of celebrations and fundraising activities – not to mention some good old-fashioned birthday parties! We’d love for you to get involved. 

All the details for local and national events can be found here.

Birthday parties

Many of our hostels across England and Wales will be holding anniversary birthday parties, throwing their doors open to the local community and raising funds for Project90. These events will range from garden parties and open days to barbecues and picnics – with the common theme of being open to all-comers.

Some examples to give you a flavour? YHA Hartington Hall is holding a festival on Saturday 23rd May, with live music, a bouncy castle, face-painting and much more; YHA National Forest is hosting a dog show on Saturday 6th June, with a pet boutique, a mobile dog-groomer and various other canine activities; YHA Ironbridge Coalport is putting on a birthday party on Saturday 15th August, with workshop activities, live music and static bike time trials, and other exciting things; while on Saturday 11th July, YHA St Briavels Castle is offering overnight stays with a ticket to a live performance of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Walk YHA

Meanwhile, Walk YHA events are also being organised across England and Wales, with guided walks to suit all abilities, from fossil hunts and family strolls to more challenging walks and treks. These events are more than just a great way to get together and take in the surroundings of your local hostels – you’ll also get some fresh air and exercise while raising funds for Project90.

Two to be aware of? On Thursday 28th May, YHA Ravenstor is holding a geology walk led by former YHA Chair Chris Darmon and botany expert Helen Leaf, taking in the nearby wilds of Bellamy Bank, named after the late David Bellamy, who visited the hostel, while YHA Boggle Hole is running a guided fossil hunt on Saturday 12th September.  

P.S. TeamYHA is participating in a series of challenge events in aid of Project90, from skydives and marathons to open-water swims and endurance bike rides. Fancy joining us, and raising money for a fantastic cause in the process?  Find your event at yha.org.uk/challenge

P.P.S. If you like your beer, keep your eyes peeled for our bespoke anniversary brew, created by the multi-award-winning Purity Brewing Co., in rural Warwickshire. Cheers!

Keep a look out for updates as the year goes on. Visit our website to find out more.

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