Our Strategy

Approved by the Board 6 April 2024 (following member consultation on January draft).

1. Why we need a strategy, why this and why now

In recent years the club has sought with some success to reverse an earlier decline in membership numbers, and to attract younger and diverse new members, in order to share the benefits of the club more broadly across the whole of the LGBTQI+ community and to safeguard the future of the club for the benefit of all. 

A clear and agreed strategy can help to align us all – GOC Board, Group Coordinators, event leaders and other volunteers and members – as we make choices about how to invest our limited time and money in order to grow, strengthen and improve the club together. 

This strategy has been developed by the GOC Board in consultation with Group Coordinators and other volunteers and members – it is informed in particular by members’ responses to the GOC website design refresh & branding survey of July 2023. 

Our 50th anniversary year in 2024 offers a particularly valuable opportunity to align together behind a common strategy to grow, strengthen and improve the club. It is intended that the strategy be reviewed and revised after 5 years.

2. Where have we come from, and therefore what do we hold dear? (our Values)

“GOC is the oldest and largest outdoors club in the UK for everyone in the LGBTQI+ community, founded in 1974. To many of our members, GOC is more than just a walking group – they have found enduring friendships and the opportunity to get out and do events that they otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to” – see About GOC

As we grow and improve the club for the future we shall celebrate our past as well, and all those who have made GOC what it is today. As we bring about change together, we shall take care to safeguard what it is about the club that members value the most:

That is, in particular:

  • Walks and other outdoor and social activities
  • Community, friendship and social connection
  • Inclusivity, accessibility and safe space
  • Non-political and non-commercial focus
  • Value for money

3. Where we are going – what kind of club do we aim to be? (our Vision)

We aim to be a diverse and inclusive club that is friendly and welcoming, vibrant and dynamic – where everyone in the LGBTQI+ community can be themselves and feel at home while making friends and enjoying outdoors and social activities together.

  • “GOC is for everyone in the LGBTQI+ community who wants to enjoy outdoor activities”GOC Strategic Statement on Inclusion and Diversity (I&D), April 2022
  • “The Objects are to provide or assist in the provision of facilities in the interests of social welfare for recreation or other leisure time occupation of any individuals who have need of such facilities especially, but not exclusively, everyone in the LGBTQI+ community with the object of improving their conditions of life”GOC Articles of Association, July 2023
  • “The activity & social club for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, across Great Britain”GOC Brand Style Guide, December 2023

4. Where are we starting from now? (our present)

What are some key present Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats?


  • Friendly, welcoming & supportive
  • Fun and enjoyable for many
  • Many dedicated volunteers
  • Strong local & specialist groups across most of Great Britain
  • Length, breadth & depth of experience 
  • Increasingly diverse activities 
  • Strong finances
  • Commitment to diversity & inclusion
  • Inexpensive and good value 


  • Ageing membership of limited diversity
  • Strong emphasis on country walking & hiking
  • Traditional, dated & dull to some
  • Shortage of volunteers to lead events, coordinate groups and join committees and the Board
  • Some local & specialist groups lapsed


  • More friendly, welcoming & safe than  commercial, nightlife scene and online platforms
  • More inclusive than larger national clubs such as Outdoor Lads & Ramblers
  • Larger than older & local clubs such as Gay Sunday Walking Group
  • Stronger sense of community than individual-led meetup groups
  • Many partnership opportunities across the wider LGBTQ+ community and outdoors sector
  • Newly refreshed branding & design


  • Change may alienate satisfied current members
  • Diverse new members may not feel welcome, causing hurt to them and/or to GOC’s reputation

5. How shall we get from here to there? (our Strategies)

Over the coming years we shall focus particular attention on working together to:

  1. Grow the membership and broaden our reach, by investing in marketing and partnership working to attract new members and by retaining existing members
  2. Increase  diversity of GOC membership, by attracting and retaining more younger members and more members who are women, LBTQI+, and of minority ethnicities
  3. Improve accessibility & inclusion, to ensure that all members are able to feel welcome and at home attending our events
  4. Engage members and support & empower volunteers, to promote volunteering and leadership at all levels across the club
  5. Increase frequency & variety of activities, to cater well to all members
  6. Improve communications, internally & externally, by investing in our website & IT infrastructure and our magazine & publications, and using them well
  7. Ensure good governance, and sound financial management.

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