Call to save Scottish hostel
In this the 80th anniversary year of the Scottish Youth Hostelling Association it seems poignant that the original youth hostel, Broadmeadows, near Selkirk, is appealing to outdoors folk to help save its existence.
The SYHA opened for business in 1931 at Broadmeadows and since then the network of hostels has grown to dozens and now includes many establishments that offer lovely accommodation, on a par with basic hotels.
Sadly, however, some hostels have been forced to shut due to a change in the focus of the SYHA, which has argued that for the organisation to be sustainable in modern times there has to be refurbishment at some hostels, and closures at others. Several hostels have been closed or ear-marked for closure in recent years, although other hostels have been treated to revamp and up-grade.
A statement from the SYHA website reports: "SYHA Hostelling Scotland has announced its intention to enhance the future performance and long-term sustainability of its network of 46 Youth Hostels. It will achieve this by closing five of its existing Youth Hostels to make improvements necessary to meet rising customer expectations and to compete with recent increases in the quality and quantity of other low budget accommodation."
Broadmeadows is one of three hostels in the Scottish Borders that looks destined to close. But while the hostels at Melrose and Kirk Yetholm have already been shut, Broadmeadows is being given another season in operation.
Call for support for Broadmeadows hostel
Now locals are calling for people to make the next season the one that they stay at the Broadmeadows hostel, which in the last year has seen occupancy at a low of 13 per cent.
Selkirkshire councillor Vicky Davidson, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for economic development, believes Broadmeadows is not a lost cause. She is reported as saying: “It is very sad that [Broadmeadows] is now so under-used. But I believe there must be an opportunity for the hostel to be better promoted and marketed to bring more people to stay, either under the SYHA umbrella or with a new operator, and I will be working hard to make this happen.”
Another Selkirkshire councillor, Carolyn Riddell-Carre, said: “I cannot help feeling sorry that the oldest youth hostel in Scotland is passing into history.”
Broadmeadows Youth Hostel was opened in May 2, 1931. Originally a row of four cottages, it was converted and gifted to the fledgling SYHA by the late William Stewart Morton.
What do you think about the hostel closures? Do you have any fond memories of staying at hostels, in your youth or in recent years?
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