The result of a £1.5 million refurbishment has been unveiled at YHA Swanage in the South West.
The extensive investment at YHA Swanage has created 11 brand new en suite bedrooms and one fully accessible bedroom, which means wheelchair users will now be able to stay at the youth hostel. Importantly, the refurbishment has retained the building’s stunning Victoria heritage and period features.
Large, open plan communal social spaces where groups can play and eat together have also been created and all 25 bedrooms at the popular youth hostel have also been completely redecorated and refurbished throughout. Additionally, the youth hostel’s classrooms, which are regularly used by visiting schools studying the geology of the nearby Jurassic coast, have been upgraded.
The Victorian building has been a youth hostel for nearly 70 years after being gifted to the leading youth charity by the Ministry of Education in 1948. Since then, more than one million young people have visited YHA Swanage as part of a school group or with their family.
Today, YHA Swanage welcomes nearly 18,000 young people and their families every year. Following the refurbishment, visitor numbers are expected to increase by 2,000 more guests each year.
The refurbishment has been made possible thanks to generous donations from individuals, YHA members and organisations, including The Bernard Sunley Foundation.
James Blake, Chief Executive of YHA (England and Wales), explained:
“YHA has been in Swanage for nearly 70 years and while the youth hostel may have been given an extensive face lift, one of the things that has not changed in that time is our charitable purpose. We know the transformative power of travel, adventure and discovery for young people and creating an environment like we have done at Swanage will enable even more young people and their families to access life enhancing experiences with YHA. I am delighted at what we have been able to achieve at YHA Swanage. The youth hostel looks fantastic and it could not have been done with the very generous support of YHA members and benefactors.
YHA Swanage is now all set for a busy summer with hundreds of families expected to stay at the popular youth hostel which is only a 5-minute walk from the town’s beautiful Blue Flag beach.
Manager of YHA Swanage Garry Hayman added:
“I am delighted that while we have modernised the building, we have been able to completely retain its Victorian heritage. Already the refurbishment has made a big difference to the school groups who stay with us. Prior to the investment we were unable to accommodate wheelchair users but now we have the fully accessible bedroom we are able to welcome even more young people to stay with us. The team and I are all set to go. The bigger communal and dining spaces are great. It’s lovely to see groups get together at breakfast and in the evening to talk about their day’s adventures. Prior to the refurbishment they were split across a number of small rooms. The creation of open spaces has made such a difference to the youth hostel.”
The youth hostel, which employs 10 people, has long been at the heart of the Swanage community. Each year the youth hostel and its classrooms are used for the annual Swanage Blues Festival in March and October and also throughout the year by community groups.