Accipio + Sport England Club Matters: Bespoke Totara LMS

Totara | Learning Platform | 110,000 users per annum

Increased active users by over 1000% within 6 months, and combined 3 sites into one, 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) originally had three learning systems running in parallel, causing issues with maintenance, administration and user flows. The growth in active user numbers (users that had logged in within 6 months) had been flat for a number of years. They therefore wanted to combine the three sites and rejuvenate their online offering for a post-covid world where there is an increased need for online learning and support.

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 develop a strategy and deliver a number of solutions.

The solutions included:

  • Merging the three existing platforms. This reclaimed valuable time which could be invested into content development.
  • Building a Club Health Check diagnostic tool, allowing for self-assessment and 360 feedback with spider graphs and insights.
  • Building a Disability Inclusion Club Hub, to aid clubs to be more inclusive and accessible to everyone.
  • Deploying our Search Engine Optimsation (SEO) plugin for Totara (Accipio Rank) to boost the number of visitors from organic search. This enabled clean URLs throughout, alongside customisable Titles, Meta Descriptions and much more.
  • 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 by making the platform more engaging by adding personalised recommendations and a tool for liking and saving content.
  • Improving accessibility to be compliant with WCAG 2.1AA standard, in line with the government requirements. This was facilitated by focusing on accessibility within the theme and content development process, resulting in a truly accessible site.
  • Developing a contemporary user interface and course layout. This catered for the full multi-tenancy capabilities of Totara, with the possibility of including a dual branded solution for partners.
  • Incorporating the communities of practice area, an online forum to connect colleagues across the sector.

The results

After years of flat growth, we increased the number of active users on the open-access platform by over 1000% (from 1,300 to 13,000) within approximately 6 months.

This was largely due to the strategy, a new diagnostic tool (Club Improvement Tool) and a SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) plugin we built.

The site has almost 30,000 clubs, and the combination of the three platforms into one delivered significant savings of over £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.

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