Staff from youth hostel charity YHA return to Matlock office after two years away

After more than two years of disruption due to Covid restrictions, youth hostelling charity YHA has welcomed all 180 staff back to its national office in Matlock over the past few weeks.

By Ed Dingwall
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 5:38 pm

The office on Dimple Road partially reopened in August last year, but ongoing safety measures and available space meant that not all staff were able to be there at any one time and most had to work from home.

Human resources director Philippa Anderson said: “It was fantastic to finally bring everyone together after more than two years of remote working.

“For many of the teams here in Matlock they have only been able to meet virtually since March 2020, so getting everyone together for cake and coffee was a great way to get people talking face-to-face again.”

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YHA staff are back together the charity's headquarters.

2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the charity’s arrival in Matlock, having previously been based in the Hertfordshire town of St Albans.

Staff at the office operate the charity’s national contact centre and take care of back office functions which support the charity’s 150-strong network of youth hostels, and workforce of more than 1,100 people across England and Wales.

While there were some mixed feelings about the return to in-person working, the charity also recognised the toll that two years away had taken on some people.

She added: “Some of our head office staff, particularly those with young children, found home working beneficial and really enjoyed while others really suffered from loneliness and that’s something we wanted to address with our events during Mental Health Awareness Week.”

Led by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), this years nationwide event, May 9-15, took the theme of loneliness.

Figures published by MHF suggest seven per cent of UK adults feel ‘often or always’ lonely now, compared to six per cent pre-pandemic, echoing similar findings from both the Office for National Statistics and the Red Cross.

MHF estimates that around 3.7million adults living in Britain feel lonely, while the Red Cross puts the figure as high as 9m people.

Despite common misconceptions, young people and those of working age can just as easily be at risk of loneliness as those in later life.

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