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Dales Youth Hostels to close

[Wednesday 01 February 2006]

Two Yorkshire Dales Youth Hostels are set to close as a major restructuring of the organisation gets the go-ahead.

The Hostels at Stainforth and Keld are among 32 that will be closed nationally over the next 3 years in a move aimed at diverting more money to creating and maintaining more popular venues.

The Youth Hostels Association (YHA) is also planning to liaise with unions over the redundancy of 70 staff as part of the £18 million "revitalisation" plan.

It is not the first time that Youth Hostels in the Dales have faced closure; both Stainforth and Keld had been earmarked to close over the last few years, but were reprieved in the face of opposition to the move.

This time however, the closures look more certain. A YHA Spokesman has said that the charity's Board of Trustees agreed to push ahead with the "radical overhaul", following a 12 month review.

The YHA is laying blame for the closures on the drop in demand for their facilities due to changing tastes and markets that now see more young people than ever before travelling abroad rather than around the UK.

The organisation is planning to use the revenue from the sale of redundant property to fund a "sustained" investment programme over the next 10 years.

YHA chairman Chris Boulton said; "This scheme of investment forms the cornerstone of a new 10-year strategy for YHA, which sees us refocus our efforts on young people in line with our charitable aims".

YHA chief executive Roger Clarke reiterated the point, saying; "We intend to run a network of successful and popular hostels in places where young people want to be and which enable us to deliver our charitable objectives".

Adding; "We are targeting families with children, schools and youth organisations, and young people traveling independently for the first time".

Despite the closure of Stainforth and Keld, there will still be A YHA presence in the Dales, with Hostels at Hawes and Dentdale among others. It does surely mean though, that there's less opportunity for encouraging young people to come and explore this wonderful part of England.

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