Sport England Club Matters

Totara | Learning Platform | 110,000 users per annum

Creating a bespoke Learning Management System for Sport England’s “one-stop-shop” for sports club resources.

Sport England is a non-departmental government body, responsible for growing and developing grassroots sport and increasing levels of activity in people within England.


Club Matters is Sport England’s “one-stop-shop” for Sports Clubs, providing free, convenient, practical resources to help develop and run sustainable clubs.

The Challenge

Sport England Club Matters (SECM) had three learning systems running in parallel, causing issues with both maintenance and administration. These were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which increased the need for online learning and support. They therefore wanted to combine the three sites and rejuvenate their online offering.


This included providing a fully integrated Learning Management System (LMS) with bespoke eLearning modules, alongside the creation of a contemporary, accessible website with provisions for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

What we did

After a robust procurement process, Sport England selected Accipio as their Totara partner. We joined the core programme team and collaborated with Sport England and their partners to deliver a number of solutions.


The solutions included:

  • Merging the three existing platforms. This reclaimed valuable time which could be invested into content development.
  • Providing structured learning pathways and 'discover' features. We transformed the static resource bank into dynamic pathways, structured around the core themes of club management and sustainability.
  • Improving user experience. We made the platform more engaging by adding personalised recommendations and a tool for liking and saving content.
  • SEO. Though the site has a core based of users from National Governing Bodies and Active Partnership employees, the majority of its visitors are from organic search. To maximise this, we implemented a custom set of plugins (Accipio Rank). These enabled clean URLs throughout, alongside customisable Titles, Meta Descriptions and much more.
  • Improving accessibility to be compliant with WCAG 2.1AA standard, in line with the government requirements that came into place in September 2020. This was facilitated by upgrading to Totara 13 and focusing on accessibility within the theme development process, resulting in a truly accessible site.
  • Collaborating with the brand team to develop a contemporary user interface, with flexible interface and course layout. This catered for the full multi tenancy capabilities of Totara 13, with the possibility of including a dual branded solution in the future.

The results

The site has almost 24,000 registered users and over 20,000 clubs. In the year leading up to November 2020, open access parts of the site had been accessed by over 110,000 users, a 20% increase on the previous year (source: Google Analytics).


The combination of the three platforms into one delivered significant savings of >£10,000 per annum. Automation in Totara also delivered time savings in administration load.


Because Totara is open-source, we were able to extend the site with a range of plugins. This included an SEO plugin to help results show on “Page 1” on Google (i.e. improved search engine ranking) alongside Discover block and custom course formats and themes.

Client quotes

“Club Matters is a sports and activity development platform powered by Totara and has gone through a revolution over the last 12 months. From an underused platform, Accipio have really driven and championed how to get the most from an updated and innovative solution to enable learning to happen. Central to this development has been allowing users to have more freedom in the ways that they can learn, making it simple, informative and interactive.

Throughout Covid-19 crisis, the Club Matters website has been an essential learning and sharing platform to help keep thousands of volunteers, clubs and organisations connected and confident in what they are able to. It’s really driven a digital revolution that needed us to create an innovative site that matched people demands and gave them the real choice in how they want to learn and develop. Moving forward, we feel better prepared to give more solutions to learning, and it’s an exciting 12 month where we will look to build on the digital revolution being felt across sport and activity.”

Niall Judge, Development Manager – Clubs