YHA News

The Sill Project awarded £7.8million by HLF!

Great news for YHA! Our Chief Executive Caroline White was delighted this week to announce that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a grant of £7.8million to the Sill Project.

With the award of this significant sum the project has taken a huge leap forward. Northumberland National Park Authority, YHA’s partners in the project held a big press event on a beautiful, but bitterly cold winter’s day to the gathered media.

The Sill will become the country’s first national landscape discovery centre. It aims to revolutionise everyone’s ability to experience nature and the great outdoors, inspiring, involving and engaging people with natural and cultural heritage.

The Sill will deliver a comprehensive programme of interpretation, education, research and events that will inspire people to value and conserve the unique natural and cultural heritage of the Northumberland landscape. It’s set to attract more than 100,000 visitors each year and will offer an all-weather and year-round facility that provides retail facilities, a café and of course, a fantastic, world class 86 bed Youth Hostel!

Naturally YHA are thrilled as this brings us much closer to our funding target; this £13.5million landmark project is now just 15% short of the target needed to give the go ahead to start work on site. In the coming months we expect to plug the funding gap with the other funding opportunities in the pipeline.

The main Board of the HLF absolutely loved the project. This is the largest grant awarded to the North East of England for many years, the first landscape project the HLF have funded and the first new build project too.

Five years in development, much work has been completed by the Project Team made up of Northumberland National Park and YHA. For YHA it is wonderful to be a partner in a world class innovative project in such an iconic location which will inspire many generations of young people.

Tony Gates, CEO of Northumberland National Park said to YHA CEO Caroline White, “I just can’t wait to see the Youth Hostel full of young people who will in turn carry YHA and the national park movement into the future.”

The huge amount of time, passion and expertise given by the property team: Jake Chalmers, Hayley Stevens, and Simon Ainley to this project has also been outstanding and certainly their property and funding expertise has been a major contributor to its success!

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