YHA Breaks

“We chatted more, we had a laugh because we were relaxed. My partner has been working a lot, lots of hours, so it was good for him to spend time with the kids too. It’s good to get away so the kids can have new experiences.” – Feedback from a mum about their YHA break to York.

Celebrating 90 years of life-changing YHA adventures, the Youth Hostel Association launched a special appeal to fund unforgettable activity breaks for low-income families with a carers role.

We are delighted to have helped 29 families, who struggled during the pandemic, by offering them an outdoor experience with YHA to connect with loved ones, nature and improve their wellbeing.

The breaks took place in the countryside in 5 locations around the UK, with plenty of activities to do nearby and in neighbouring towns. The breaks offered a change of scenery, and the opportunity to relax and try new things.

For Grandmother Gillian, her YHA break to Berwick was a turning point.

It had been a tough few years, as Gillian’s husband passed away suddenly just before the pandemic hit. Becoming the sole carer for her 2 granddaughters, coupled with concerns about the pandemic, created new worries. “I am frightened in case I get covid. For the girls mainly. And you know if I got covid, who would have the girls, where would the girls go if anything happened to me?

“I still haven’t been on a bus since he died. It’s just the way covid and everything made me feel.”

The break offered an opportunity for Gillian. Days at the beach, at the park, relaxing at the on-site café and laughing with the staff. It has helped restore some of the confidence that she’d lost over the last 19 months, leaving her and her granddaughters feeling refreshed. And having the space to grieve.

Two sisters smiling with ice lollies in hand, standing next to a river with a bridge in the background.“I needed that break away from being stuck in the house in a rut. It was something that I knew I had to do, and I hadn’t done it, but I’d been given the opportunity to do it.

“When I stood on the beach, I broke down. Whenever we used to go to the beach when our kids were little, we would stand for hours just watching the waves. It’s just so relaxing and I burst into tears because that was what we would have stood and done. But I think I’ve proved to myself that I can do it now.”

You can read the rest of Gillian’s story here.

And for Mum Louise, her family’s YHA break has left her feeling more positive for the future.

Louise’s husband works full time, but with 4 kids, there’s not much money to go around beyond the day-to-day essentials. “If anything else is needed it puts pressure on” Louise admits.

Lockdown and the pandemic added a different dynamic and was a mixed blessing. Everyone loved Dad being at home and around, but there’s no denying home-schooling 4 children was hard work! Financially things were really difficult, and the family relied on food parcels from the school.

The family’s favourite moment of their break was arriving at YHA South Downs, as they had no idea what to expect, but received the warmest of welcomes, more than they could ever hope. Whilst they were away the family spent quality time together, visiting the local area, going hiking, and watching the sunsets.

A beautiful landscape shot of some scenery. Lush green grass is dotted with yellow flowers. Beyond that is a treeline and above is the blue sky with some wispy clouds.

“As soon as I got home, I actually wanted to clean the house, I had so much energy. I wanted to clean and do the washing and clean the windows and do a bit of decorating”, Louise confided. And it hasn’t stopped there “I have been wondering if I could get a little part time job when my daughter starts school, just to have something for me. My husband works really hard but it’s a low salary and a little part time job might mean we could do more, even go away again”.

Read more about Louise and her story here.

Thank you to YHA for their generous donation of breaks, helping families when they need it most.

To support families like Louise and Gillian’s to experience the break they need donate here.