Chancellor Rishi Sunak visited YHA Grinton Lodge in his Yorkshire constituency to meet primary school pupils benefiting from a Generation Green-funded residential.
Launched earlier this year following a Green Recovery Challenge Fund of more than £2.5 million from the Government, the project aims to reach 100,000 young people, connecting them to nature through new jobs, training, volunteering roles, residentials and outdoor learning experiences.
Students from Wibsey Primary School in Bradford were taking part in a two-night residential at the youth hostel in the Yorkshire Dales, when the Chancellor came along to see the work of the project in action.
As part of the residential, pupils took part in activities organised by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), one of the 15 not-for-profit outdoor education providers delivering Generation Green, the project funded by the grant.
Karen Yates, acting headteacher at Wibsey Primary School, said: “For many of the children who stayed at YHA Grinton Lodge, it was their first time on a residential and also their first time in the countryside.
“It was a wonderful experience for them, helping them understanding the environment and how to look after and treasure our countryside.
“The Generation Green project is so important, and we hope it continues so more children can experience being outside in our amazing landscape.”
Rishi Sunak said: “It was great to meet the children getting a taste of Dales life learning about the environment and the way the countryside works. The Government is pleased to be funding this excellent programme.”
Led by YHA (England & Wales), Generation Green is the first project to be delivered by Access Unlimited, a coalition of 15 not-for-profit outdoor education providers including YHA, Scouts, Girlguiding, Field Studies Council, The Outward Bound Trust and 10 National Park authorities in England.
James Blake, chief executive of YHA (England & Wales) who met with the Chancellor along with representatives from Access Unlimited partner YDNPA, said: “It was an excellent opportunity to showcase the work of Generation Green and all the partners involved at YHA Grinton Lodge. Spending time with Mr Sunak gave us the opportunity to impress on him the importance of young people spending time in the outdoors and connecting with nature.
“This is more important than ever in the wake of the pandemic where hundreds of thousands of young people missed out on the opportunity to have a school residential. For some of those children, it would be their first time in the countryside. We cannot overlook these young people.”
For details of Generation Green funded activities available for young people, go to www.yha.org.uk/generationgreen