I’m a life member of the Youth Hostels Association (YHA) and have followed the fate of the hostels sold off by the organisation for some years now. Back in 2006 I wrote about how charities and development trusts had stepped in to save hostels following a devastating round of closures, which saw one seventh of the network sold off by the YHA.
Almost five years on and another round of sell-offs has been proposed. So I revisited one of the hostels I covered in 2006 to see how it was doing under new ownership. I found Wooler youth hostel in Northumberland to be thriving under the management of Glendale Gateway Trust, a social enterprise. In the article for the Guardian’s Social Enterprise Network, I also covered how the success of Wooler has inspired other social enterprises in Northumberland to open brand new hostels. Continue reading