SYHA Hostelling Scotland has announced the appointment of Lois Marshall as Youth and Volunteer Engagement Manager.
This new role for the charitable organisation aims to strengthen its growing youth and volunteer programmes in the run up to VisitScotland’s Year of Young People in 2018.
Lois will be responsible for the development, promotion and implementation of a long term plan for SYHA youth and volunteer programmes which provide young people with access to inclusive, quality residential experiences and a wide range of positive social and learning outcomes.
These include the unique outdoor education STEM programme and the SYHA Youth Active Grant scheme that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to take part.
The remit of the post also covers the development of youth volunteer involvement within SYHA moving forward along with the coordination of the current portfolio of youth and volunteering programmes.
READ MORE: Scottish Youth Hostel Association
Lois has valuable experience of working in the youth and volunteer sectors.
Her most recent post was as Type 1 Engagement Lead at Diabetes Scotland where her remit included managing a national young volunteer project and developing engagement with young people with Type 1 diabetes.
She has also worked at Youth Scotland where she ran the Girls on the Move Programme, supporting disadvantaged young women to increase their physical activity and gain leadership skills and the Youth Leadership Programme, which supported young people to develop their involvement in youth clubs across Scotland.
Lois said: “I am excited to be starting in this brand new role, supporting the vital charitable mission of SYHA which is to ensure young people can experience and appreciate the Scottish countryside, environment, natural heritage and places of historic and cultural interest in Scotland.
“I am also delighted to be able to support volunteers from Scotland and around the world to develop their skills, gain new experiences and build their confidence through our fantastic volunteer opportunities.”
SYHA’s youth and volunteer programmes experienced a significant rise in interest in 2016 with 181 individuals volunteering across the year, a 27% rise from 2015.
A total of 274 young people from across Scotland were helped by SYHA’s residential learning experiences - with 236 of these were young people taking part in Give us a Break which aims to tackle social exclusion by supporting groups of vulnerable or disadvantaged young people to take part in residential activity breaks.
SYHA Chief Executive Keith Legge, said: “We are delighted to welcome Lois to SYHA and look forward to building on the success of our youth and volunteer engagement to date, cementing existing relationships and developing new partnership opportunities, ensuring that SYHA continues to enable young people to experience all that Scotland has to offer.
“As a not for profit charity, all surpluses generated from the hostel network are invested back into the organisation allowing SYHA to keep the youth and volunteer programmes as key parts of its activities.
“This means that everyone who chooses to stay in a SYHA youth hostel helps to support this crucial work.”
SYHA Hostelling Scotland is a self-funding charity operating a network of over 60 youth and affiliate hostels for the benefit of all those wishing to learn and experience what Scotland has to offer.
Their aim is to provide affordable accommodation for everyone, but especially for young people, to experience Scotland’s natural heritage and places of historic and cultural interest.
SYHA’s youth programme portfolio includes Give Us A Break, a funded residential programme which aims to tackle social exclusion by offering groups of vulnerable or disadvantaged young people the opportunity to take part in activity holidays at youth hostels across Scotland.
The hugely successful programme enters into it’s 13th year in 2017.
READ MORE: Give us a Break campaign
The scheme helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to take part in a school or youth group residential trip.
SYHA’s Youth Active Grants are available to young people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience a residential trip due to their particular circumstances which result in social exclusion, deprivation or other disadvantage.
READ MORE: Youth Active Grants
Applications are currently being sought for 2017.
SYHA also work in partnership with the Gannochy Trust to offer groups of young people and their leaders from Perth and Tayside a two night residential stay full of outdoor activities and challenges.
READ MORE: The Gannochy Trust Programme
The youth programme portfolio is now linked with Children’s University Scotland (CU), a national charity that seeks to engage young people in learning outside the classroom.
The partnership will mean that any CU member who takes part in one of the SYHA Youth Programmes, or who visits a centre in Scotland as part of a family trip, can receive credits in their Passport in recognition of the educational value of their experiences.