A new £6.8m state-of-the-art school and youth centre at YMCA Lakeside in Cumbria has opened its doors to the public, following a seven-year redevelopment project.

The Stoller Campus at YMCA Lakeside, Newby Bridge, was officially opened yesterday by key benefactor Sir Norman Stoller CBE KStj DL.

The ceremony was also attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, Mrs Clare Hensman, funders, contractors and supporters who have all helped to make the impressive project a reality.

YMCA Lakeside is one of the largest and most established outdoor education centres in the United Kingdom.

Situated on the banks of Lake Windermere, the Centre boasts 1.5 miles of the iconic South Lakes waterfront and extensive woodland.

Offering over 50 outdoor water and land-based activities, YMCA Lakeside has been seeking to change young lives by delivering transformative instructor-led experiences.

Since opening its doors over 60 years ago, the centre has welcomed over one million young people. The new facility aims to grow the amount and quality of accommodation to ensure a more stimulating and inspiring place for young people to learn.

The eco-friendly building incorporates hi-tech entrances, sophisticated security access, en-suite dormitory rooms, and drying rooms for boots and outdoor gear. Architecturally, the building is designed to ‘disappear’ into the landscape, minimising the visual impact on Lake Windermere.

John Cronin, CEO of YMCA Fylde Coast, said: “The launch ceremony is a pivotal moment in time for YMCA Lakeside. The Stoller Campus will enable us to continue offering lifechanging experiences for future generations. We’re looking forward to welcoming our next million young people.”

Lancashire-based architecture, town planning and building surveying practice, Cassidy + Ashton, acted as the lead consultant, overseeing the final design and building phase. Working with quantity surveyors Thornber & Walker, services consultants Beech Jackson Partnership, structuring and civil consultant Curtins Consulting Ltd and construction company Conlon, the team successfully delivered the project.

Alistair Baines, chairman of Cassidy + Ashton, commented:

“We were delighted to be involved in this very exciting project at the heart of the iconic World Heritage Site.

“We fully appreciate the importance of this facility to the YMCA going forward and are proud to be involved in helping to deliver a significant development of the Lakeside centre that will undoubtedly provide long term, sustainable facilities for the Trust.”

YMCA Lakeside provides those who are less fortunate to experience the transformative impact on mind, body and spirit derived from spending time in the great outdoors. However, the high-volume operation had suffered from years of infrastructure decline and a lack of investment.

In 2010 Lakeside was acquired by YMCA Fylde Coast who began an ambitious fundraising and redevelopment project, to create world-class accommodation for schools and youth groups.