Sports Partnership Herefordshire and Worcestershire (SPHW)

We have been working with MetaValue for several months now. Their approach has fully engaged the whole team which has led to real ownership of the business plan. They have steered us through the process, supporting us to come up with a vision which is meaningful and growth expectations which feel realistic. Their style has enabled the team to find space to look to a future beyond the logistics of transition.”
Stephen Brewster, Director, Sports Partnership Herefordshire & Worcestershire
Sports Partnership Herefordshire and Worcestershire (SPHW) is a one-stop-shop for sport and physical activity across two counties aiming to deliver more than just sport provision; SPHW aim to provide a service that gives people the option to create a better, healthier and fun lifestyle.

Project objective:

SPHW received funding support through the Cabinet Office’s Mutuals Support Programme (MSP) to spin out into a Public Service Mutual. MetaValue were the chosen suppliers to support the development of a Business Plan and Financial Model, provide expert advisory support on HR, Pensions, TUPE, Finance and Tax and create a Marketing Strategy and Plan for the potential Mutual. We were also tasked with implementation support for the spin-out process.
To reach their goal of becoming a successful Mutual, we worked with the team to:
  • Assess how best to maximise impact, improve sustainability, and diversify income.
  • Establish a clear brand and reputation
  • Retain and grow a knowledgeable and skilled team

Key challenges:

  • Stepping out of the safety net of a Local Authority and into the brave new world of being an independent organisation understandably caused both excitement and nervousness. The team were concerned about what the changes would mean for their roles and future and also how they were going to achieve their ambitious growth plans.
  • A key challenge was also to reduce their reliance on Sport England funding; they wanted to diversify income streams but needed the goal and journey to be achievable and realistic.
  • Marketing was identified as a high-priority area to attract additional income and also to support customers and programmes better. However, as with any startup, budgets and resources were limited for any marketing and brand overhaul.

How we addressed these challenges:

“We were so enthused to see how keen and positive the SPHW team were to spin out! The challenge for us was to harness this positivity and ensure that we fully engaged staff and that they felt like active participants in shaping the future of their service.” Suzie Campbell, MetaValue

  • We understand that however exciting the future prospects, the logistics of transition can be quite daunting. But transition is when the future is shaped and the foundations laid. Our approach therefore was to address the nervousness around the transition process, bring the team together and make every step of the journey engaging and to the extent possible, enjoyable. We started with team workshops to involve everyone from the very beginning to asses where they were ‘now’, how they were organised ‘today’, and where they wanted to be and what they wanted to achieve.
  • To address their concerns around diversifying income streams, we held a workshop on Income Growth. We encouraged a blue-sky thinking approach where everyone together as a team looked at what ‘great’ looked like and how they wanted their service to develop and what levels of new income would be needed to reduce reliance on Sport England funding income. This allowed the team to generate new ideas, and also gave a clear indication that growth targets would have to be significant. This led to some trepidation amongst the team as to how these would be achieved.
  • To tackle this, we held a further workshop on how they needed to organise to deliver. The team identified a simple but powerful ‘Run, Deliver, Grow’ model – with a clearly defined structure to manage the day-today running of the service and to deliver on existing customer contracts and achieve growth. The initial trepidation quickly turned into confidence and excitement of making it happen.
  • With a thriving startup ecosystem, there are now a plethora of low-cost high-impact marketing solutions. Being an entrepreneur-led business ourselves we looked at the most fit-for-purpose options for SPHW (most of which we have used ourselves) – whether for website development or brand redesign or web analytics.
  • We also held a marketing workshop which gave each person a voice on what their view of the organisation was, what they thought about the existing brand, and their opinions on the future of the brand. This became the basis of the branding strategy and was the first major step of being a truly employee-led organisation.


  • Delivered business plan for growth for SPHW to achieve 30% income growth through diversified income streams that the team owns and feels fully confident to deliver on.
  • SPHW successfully spun-out as a Public Service Mutual on 1st April 2015 with full support from Worcester City Council.
  • The team is now on track to achieve (and exceed) their year 1 growth target (2015).

Final thoughts:

  • “The most rewarding part of the project was the enthusiasm shown by the team once they realised that achieving growth wasn’t as daunting or as complex as it can seem when just looking at figures. Once we had broken the numbers down and worked out smaller, achievable goals to reach the larger, overarching targets, the team took these on with heart-warming pride and determination.” Meeta Thareja, MetaValue
  • “One member of the of the team actually developed his own mini-business cases around some of the income growth targets outside of the workshops. The team asked to carry brainstorming ideas for growth after we concluded our last workshop. That’s being defeated by our own success – our aim for every customer we work with!” Suzie Campbell, MetaValue