Make a real difference to a million more lives at Lakeside

With your support we can create a brand new facility for children and young people to enjoy and learn from Lakeside’s outdoor activities at a total cost of £6.8 million.

Our History

Lakeside started to suffer financially as far back as the late 1990’s due to a lack of capital funds available for investment in the infrastructure of the site and high operational costs. By 2008 the situation had reached such a critical level that the management of the centre was outsourced from its then owners, YMCA England to YMCA Fylde Coast.

In 2011, YMCA Fylde Coast took on full ownership of Lakeside and established the local Sub- Committee made up of people who not only have the relevant knowledge and expertise but also who are living and working in Cumbria and subsequently have a vested interest in ensuring the financial sustainability of the centre. Through a reduction in spending, undertaking only essential repairs and rationalising areas of delivery, and with the guidance of the Sub-Committee members,we have successfully reduced the financial losses.

We have now reached a point where the centre is year on year proving to be sustainable with annual revenue covering our expenditure levels. However, our financial challenges are on-going and the strategies we have put in place to balance the books are a short term fix.

Many of our buildings have now been in continual use since the early 1950s. Whilst our maintenance team works hard to keep standards high, the reality is that the majority need to be replaced. Without a complete transformation of our existing facilities, Lakeside will not be financially secure into the future and would be forced to close, resulting in a significant loss for the local economy and for the many local communities in Cumbria that benefit from coming here.

Our Environment

Set on the shore of Lake Windermere, Lakeside is one of the largest professional outdoor activity centres in the country. We work with schools, youth groups, families and businesses, providing high quality residential and day experiences, all designed to inspire young people to grow in body, mind and spirit.

We are here for all young people, but our particular focus is to provide life changing experiences for those who have a greater struggle to succeed in life, whether because they live in deprived areas, find school difficult, have started to get into trouble or suffered personal tragedies.

In our beautiful natural environment, we take children and young people often from urban and inner city surroundings and provide them with a wide range of fun and exciting outdoor activities –

– from canoeing to sailing to rock climbing to abseiling to speedily zipping down a wire over the Lake’s waters.

Through our outdoor challenges we are able to test leadership, communication and problem solving skills as well as ways of looking at resolving conflict, making decisions and working as a team. Most importantly we help young people learn from both success and failure!

Across our North and South Camps, Lakeside can accommodate up to 553 people (including staff) in lodges, dormitories, chalets and a tented village. In addition, on site we also have several catering facilities, 6 conference and venue facilities, a chapel, office accommodation and various other ancillary building’s that support the operation of the centre.

The local Lakeside sub-committee members

Brian Barden

Brian moved from Sheffield to Westmorland, as it then was, in 1968 and worked as a planner for the County Council and then for the Lake District Special Planning Board until 1986 when he started his own Planning Consultancy firm from which he has just retired in 2015.

He has three children, all of whom enjoyed summer camps at the Lakeside Centre, which helped raise his awareness of the valuable role the Centre fulfils. Whilst working on the planning project for the redevelopment proposals he has seen first-hand on a number of occasions the huge benefits that young people enjoy when visiting the Centre.

Mike Bevans

Mike has lived in the Lakes since 1988 when he became Managing Director of the Langdale UK Resorts Division, responsible for the Langdale Hotel & Country Club site and their new development at Underscar, Keswick. In 1990 he bought Linthwaite and has developed it into one of the highest rated hotels in the Lake District.

Mike has two sons both of whom have happy memories of summer days at Lakeside.

Sam Rayner

Born in Windermere and lived in the Lakes for almost every year of his life, Sam has been the Managing Director of Lakeland the International Kitchenware Company for 40 years. He joined his elder brother in the family business when he was 20 and whilst the business operates throughout the UK and overseas they have focussed their community and charitable support in the South Lakes.

Sam has been on the board of a variety of organisations including Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency, Kendal College, Sedburgh School, Westmorland County Show and served on a host of industry associations.

Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes arrived in the Lake District in 1977 when he joined the sales team at the Windermere Office of Chartered Surveyors Thompson Matthews. Having been involved in the sale of some spectacular Lakeland properties, Robert moved into property development, predominantly conversion of non-residential to residential, finally “going it alone” in 2000 as Robert Hughes Limited which he sold to Eric Wright Group in 2008. He brings a knowledge of development and construction to the team.

Robert’s grown-up family all have fond memories of attending YMCA Lakeside in the eighties.

Richard Rhodes

Richard served as the Headmaster for two of the largest independent schools in Fylde, Arnold and Rossall before moving to Staveley in Cartmel in 2001. Richard served as a Justice of the Peace for over 30 years in Lytham, Fleetwood and Barrow, this commitment to public service followed him to Cumbria as he was appointed to the Cumbria Probation Board in 2004 before being appointed as the Chair in 2008.

Richard was the first Police and Crime Commissioner appointed in 2012, he has a comprehensive insight into the substantive issues affecting the whole county and in particular the need to develop support and awareness of issues relating to young people.

In addition to being a member of the YMCA Lakeside Sub Committee Richard is a Churchwarden at St. Mary’s Staveley in Cartmel licensed by the Bishop to lead worship and he is also a Trustee of the Churches Trust for Cumbria.

Our Fundraising

The Lakeside Project

The vision for Lakeside is to change the lives of one million more young people who might otherwise not reach their full potential.

Learn more>


You can transform disadvantaged children and young people’s lives and futures by donating to the Changing Young Lives Appeal.

Get involved >

Sponsor a bed

For just £200 you can make a lasting impact on young peoples lives by sponsoring one of 265 beds in our new facility.

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