Fundraising has started to enable commissioning of an
Options Appraisal study
The Streatley Youth Hostel, Hill House, was gifted by Florence Reiss 90 years ago to the fledgling Youth Hostel Association (YHA). 18 months ago a campaign to ‘Stop the Sale of Streatley YHA’ persuaded the YHA to defer the proposed sale of the hostel – now desperately in need of modernisation and refurbishment. The Covid pandemic has since further financially challenged the YHA, at a time when the importance of being able to access the great outdoors for our mental health and wellbeing has really been highlighted by our nation’s confinement.
The YHA and the North Wessex Downs and Chilterns AONBs, The Ridgeway and Thames Path National Trails and West Berkshire Council are working as partners to collectively deliver a vision of “an exciting, inspirational, sustainable and modern youth hostel, meeting the needs of young people, a diverse society and the local community in the 21st Century”. In addition to the traditional accommodation offer ideas include: a café promoting local produce, a cycle repair hub, visitor information/interpretation about the landscape and National Trails and meeting facilities for local businesses and the community.’
The partners have generously contributed £20k towards the next step of producing an options appraisal but this is about 50% of what is required at this stage. The study will include consultation with the local community, YHA visitors and a wide spectrum of stakeholders, to produce some clear and costed options, to guide the next steps and hopefully save this treasured local asset. This would enable everyone to access our beautiful landscape by offering reasonably-priced accommodation with modern and inspirational facilities.
It would be a real shame if we were to lose this historic asset. There were previously seven YHA’s along the Ridgeway; other than Court Hill, which is now a privately run hostel, the Streatley YHA is the only one remaining. Florence Reiss’ purpose remains as pertinent today as it did nearly a century ago. If you think this is important, you can help by donating.