We started our new hiking group in January 2018. We registered the domain name www.southhertshikers.uk and set up ths web site and then we started the Meetup group on 10th January 2018. The first event was on 28th January and then we organised day hikes every two weeks in February, March and April.

The intention is for the group to break even by 31st Dec 2018 but it has been necesssary to revise the original plan. Previously, we planned to offer two free events then charge a modest annual membership fee but we have changed this to one free event then a modest charge per event.

Our group has affiliated to The Ramblers and we also wanted to affiliate to YHA (England and Wales) in connection with accommodation for weekends away. In late January 2018, YHA announced that the YHA Affiliate Groups scheme would be phased out from 28th February 2018. This meant that we cannot affiliate to YHA, we cannot get any Affiliated Groups Discount on YHA bookings for weekends away and we cannot get the insurance that YHA used to provide for its affiliated groups.

The withdrawal of the YHA Affiliate Groups Scheme has had a major impact on our annual costs because we won’t be able to get insurance via YHA by paying for the actual number of paying members that we have (as opposed to the number of potential members that we have on Meetup). Instead, it would be necessary to pay an insurance broker a substantial annual premium that is typically the same whether we have 2, 10 or 100 paying members. This has a major impact on the finances of a new group that is starting up.

To operate the Meetup Group, we pay Meetup Inc. an organizer subscription of US$14.99 per month, payable 6 months in advance, making U$179.98 per annum. This would cover up to three Meetup groups but we only need one. We also pay for Amazon Web Services (AWS) in US Dollars for domain name registration and web site hosting although AWS costs less than any UK provider that we have found.