MONDAY 27 NOV 2017 2:53 PM


St Paul's, London, is famed for its iconic cathedral, proximity to the Millennium Bridge and connection with the historic City of London. Naturally the area attracts numerous annual visitors, many of whom flock to find accommodation in the area considered by many as being the true heart of London. One such place, nestled in between the site’s various attractions, is Youth Hostel Association (YHA) London St Paul’s.

At 200 years old, the building is one of London’s, and the country’s, longest-established hostelling institutions. Yet years of use meant YHA London St Paul’s began to show its age.

With the hostel welcoming an almost 100% occupancy rate, and around 150 suitcases heaved up its staircase every night, the building was beginning to show its age. Help came in the form of Mace Foundation, the charitable arm of international consultancy and construction company Mace Group, which led a week-long corporate volunteering effort to renovate the historic hostel and ensure the building was once again renowned as one of the YHA’s most important sites.

“Everyone involved was very keen to volunteer their time,” says Nick Thurtle, project manager at Mace. “It’s been an opportunity to develop our teamwork skills as well as put something back into the local community.”

Decorating six of the hostel’s bedrooms, as well as its reception area and staircase, the 70-strong Mace Foundation team dedicated 500 hours of their time to the Grade II listed building. James Blake, chief executive of YHA England and Wales, says, “We are extremely grateful to the Mace Foundation and volunteers from Mace who have undertaken the transformation at YHA St Pauls. The work has made a huge difference to the Youth Hostel, the effects of which will be far reaching beyond the redecoration.”

All equipment and materials, including paint and carpets, were supplied by Mace and Mace’s supply chain partners Lucas Group and Rees Flooring. The total cost of the project was around £20,000.

“The time and materials Mace people and its supply chain partners have donated will enable us to reallocate YHA funds so that we can help more disadvantaged young people and their families in England and Wales,” says Blake.

With brand purpose at the top of many company agendas, corporate volunteering is fundamental in ensuring employees feel a difference is being made to wider society. The heritage and legacy of YHA London St Paul’s, and St Paul’s in general, made this project a perfect fit for Mace, particularly given YHA’s reliance on corporate volunteering to enable it run projects for young people. Given Mace’s expertise in construction and building projects, YHA London St Paul’s should be fit to welcome its plethora of visitors for many years yet.