Challenging lives support programme

We transform young lives forever through travel and real adventure.

We believe every child should have the same chance to discover, explore and grow. We create unique opportunities for people from all backgrounds to experience amazing places, share extraordinary journeys and take a different path through life.

Our challenging lives programme aims to reach those children and young people who are or have recently experienced life threatening medical or mental health conditions, bereavement or homelessness. We also offer support to those living with a disability or life threatening medical conditions or who take on a caring role.

If your group works with young people facing these challenges we can offer groups a 2 night break package at one of our iconic destinations.

Because YHA relies on the generosity of its donors and supporters to deliver our life changing work our programmes are discretionary and subject to eligibility criteria.

Our guidance notes can support you to complete the application. If you need support to complete the application or you have any questions please contact our breaks team on 01629 592 723 or by an email at [email protected]

The break you are applying for must make a significant difference to the group of children/ young people, so please tell us as much as you can about why this will make a real difference. To be eligible the child or young person must be between the ages of 8 and 18 and meet the following criteria. The children/young people who you are applying for must:
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  • Have a disability or life limiting or threatening condition (please refer to our disability guidance)
  • Have experienced homelessness or are living in temporary accommodation
  • Have witnessed or experienced domestic violence
  • Have witnessed or experienced drug and alcohol abuse
  • Have experienced bereavement (either the loss of a parent or sibling)
  • Be young carers
  • Have a sibling who is a disabled child or a child who has a life limiting or threatening condition
  • Live in an area of deprivation (qualifying areas: Middlesbrough, Knowsley, Kingston upon Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham (particularly the areas of Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton), Blackpool, Nottingham, Burnley, Hartlepool, Bradford, Blackburn with Darwen, Hastings, Stoke on Trent, North East Lincolnshire, Salford, Rochdale, Pendle, Halton, Great Yarmouth, London Boroughs (Tower Hamlets, Islington, Hackney, Barking and Dagenham, Enfield, Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Newham), Norwich, Leicester, South Tyneside (including South Shields, Jarrow, Gateshead, Wallsend, and Sunderland), Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Newport, Denbighshire, Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Caerphilly, Bridgend

Download our guidance notes

Thank you for your interest in the Challenging Lives Programme. Applications for support are now closed. Should you require any further information please email [email protected] and a member of the team will get back to you.

Applications are now closed and will reopen later in 2019.

Available Breaks

YHA London Lee Valley exterior

YHA London Lee Valley

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA London Thameside exterior

YHA London Thameside

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Grinton Lodge exterior

YHA Grinton Lodge

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Ennerdale exterior

YHA Ennerdale

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Haworth exterior

YHA Haworth

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA York exterior

YHA York

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Whitby exterior

YHA Whitby

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Boggle Hole exterior

YHA Boggle Hole

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Hawkshead exterior

YHA Hawkshead

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Windermere exterior

YHA Windermere

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Wilderhope manor exterior

YHA Wilderhope Manor

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Edale exterior

YHA Edale

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Stratford-upon-Avon exterior

YHA Stratford-upon-Avon

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Castleton Losehill Hall exterior

YHA Castleton Losehill Hall

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Sheringham exterior

YHA Sheringham

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Holmbury St Mary exterior

YHA Holmbury St Mary

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Eden Project exterior

YHA Eden Project

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Treyarnon exterior

YHA Treyarnon Bay

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Cardiff Central exterior

YHA Cardiff Central

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Wye Valley exterior

YHA Wye Valley

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Conwy exterior

YHA Conwy

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Okehampton exterior

YHA Okehampton

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

YHA Langdale exterior

YHA Langdale

1st September 2018 to 28th February 2019 (excl. October half term)

If you have special circumstances that mean none of these properties are suitable, please get in touch with the team to discuss your enquiry.

Important Information

This is a list of focus hostels for our support programmes and not a definitive list of where breaks may be available

Our programmes Information

Our resources are limited. We don’t receive any government funding; we are reliant on our donors and supporters. We regret we cannot assist every applicant and aim to reach those in greatest need. We can only provide groups with one break per year. All requests for assistance must be made by completing an application form to apply for an advertised educational break. All applications should be made by a senior member of the organisation on behalf of a specific group of young people. Members of the group must have permanent legal residency in the UK and have lived in the UK for the last 12 months. The child or young people must be aged 8 – 18 years old at the time of application. YHA can only consider applications made during an advertised application period. If you are requesting a break for children with a life limiting condition please make us aware of this on the application form. We can provide accommodation for a maximum of 2 nights and a food package. Accommodation will be for a maximum of 2 adults and a group of 12 children/young people under aged 8 – 18 (up to 19th birthday). If anyone in the group has additional caring needs, please contact us to discuss this in more detail. The locations, times and dates of breaks may on occasion be subject to change at the discretion or YHA for operational reasons. Whilst we will try to allocate accommodation on the preferences selected we are unable to guarantee these choices. The group of children/ young people must meet the qualifying criteria. YHA will not provide care or childcare for the duration of your break. Groups will be responsible for the welfare of children/young people in their care for the duration of the break. YHA is unable to provide transport. You will be required to make your own travel arrangements to and from the hostel or camp. Breaks can only take place at a YHA hostel. Breaks, locations and dates are subject to availability. YHA cannot reimburse groups, families or individuals for money that has already been spent or for breaks that have already taken place. We are not able to help children/young people in local authority care, including those living with foster carers. All successful applications will be required to complete an experience monitoring form which will help us understand the difference the break made to your group, the lives of young people and how we can continually improve our support to other young people.

Challenging lives support programme