YHA (England & Wales) is to begin its search for a new 5-star home in Cardiff, following the agreement to transfer ownership of its East Tyndall Street youth hostel to the city council.
YHA Cardiff Central was one of a number of properties YHA licensed to local councils temporarily to support the most vulnerable and keep people safe during the pandemic. The youth hostel has since become an integral part of Cardiff Council’s ‘No Going Back’ approach to the delivery of homelessness services in the city and its COVID recovery strategy.
As part of YHA’s commitment to Wales and its capital, YHA will now look to secure a new home in Cardiff and will work closely with the council to achieve this.
James Blake, Chief Executive of YHA (England & Wales), explained:
“Transferring the ownership of our East Tyndall Street youth hostel to Cardiff Council is beneficial for everyone. It gives us the opportunity to find a new home in a more central part of the capital, which will make the rich culture and heritage of Cardiff more easily accessible to the thousands of guests who stay with us each year.”
The sale of YHA Cardiff Central comes at a critical time for the Youth Hostels Association (YHA). The enforced closure of its network of properties during the pandemic has led to a loss of 80% of the charity’s income which, despite welcome support from both the Welsh and UK Governments, has resulted in a cash loss of over £10million so far this financial year.
In the short term, the transfer of the Cardiff site will provide vital additional funds for the charity helping YHA’s ability to recover. In the longer term, it will support YHA’s reinvestment in its Welsh network of youth hostels, including a new site in the capital, to ensure that YHA can survive and thrive into the future.
Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said:
“The opportunity to buy the YHA hostel we’ve been using for almost 12 months now is an exciting one. The accommodation and services we’ve delivered there have been crucial to the success we have had during that time, supporting people away from life on the streets.
“We’ve had an unprecedented opportunity to work with the vulnerable people who needed our support over the past year, and we don’t want to lose that momentum. We’ve committed to ‘No Going Back’ and buying the hostel is an important step on that journey.”
“We are grateful to YHA (England & Wales) for their support during this difficult period and for agreeing to the sale of the property, which will help the Council take forward its long-term strategy to address homelessness. The YHA are keen to retain a presence in Cardiff, and the Council shares this desire. We look forward to working closely with the YHA to help them secure a new home in Cardiff.”
James Blake added:
“While it is always sad to part with a successful youth hostel, as a charity focussed on supporting young people and their families, we are pleased to be able to support Cardiff with their homelessness strategy. I thank Cardiff Council for their continued support and commitment to YHA in Cardiff and look forward to working closely with them on the search for a new home in the capital.”
The charity now has 24 properties in Wales, providing accommodation to individuals, families, groups and schools. Although currently closed, when restrictions allow, youth hostels will be re-opened across the country.
For all bookings or further information about YHA (England & Wales), please visit: www.yha.org.uk.