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The Co-op funds Youth Hostel accommodation refurbishment

17th January 2012 Print

The Co-operative Bank has agreed a £13m funding package with national accommodation provider YHA (the Youth Hostels Association) in England and Wales.

The Bank's specialist charity team has agreed to the funding which will be used to refurbish YHA's 200 youth hostels, bunk houses and camping barns across England and Wales, and to refinance a debt facility.

YHA has an ambitious strategy to reinvest in its entire hostel network, modernising facilities to meet customer demand and expectation.

The funding will enable YHA to significantly invest into its portfolio, including its Central London properties, which are popular with the backpacker market, and Loosehill Hall in the Peak District, a popular group hostel.

Barbara Hodgson, Regional Manager of The Co-operative Bank's Charity and Social Enterprise Team (North and Midlands), said: "The Youth Hostel Association is an organisation with a proven track record in providing quality accommodation to its customers.

"Despite the challenging economic outlook, this shows how the Bank continues to support charitable organisations and offer a full range of services to its clients.

"One of the main aims of YHA is to inspire everyone, especially young people, to broaden their horizons gaining knowledge and independence through new experiences of adventure and discovery.

"The plan that YHA has in place will undoubtedly ensure that individuals and groups will have access to high quality, affordable accommodation options across England and Wales and we are delighted to offer the organisation our support.

"Charities and social enterprises are increasingly seeking financial advice from companies they can trust and our proven track record and wealth of experience puts us in good stead to support these organisations moving forward."

Caroline White, Chief Executive at YHA: "Our vision is to reach out and enhance the lives of young people.  We want to double the number of young people who experience YHA and the support of the Co-operative Bank will be essential in achieving that goal."

Recent data from The Co-operative Bank has shown that its charity business has doubled since 2008 with customer numbers increasing from 2,481 to 4,818.

Research conducted by Eiris has showed that 78% of people would think worse of a charity if they knew they had money invested in activities contrary to its work and values. The Co-operative Group runs a dedicated programme to inspire young people to become active citizens in their community in order to change their world for the better through education, opportunities and campaigning.