SPARC helps people in the South West from disadvantaged backgrounds to access sport and physical activity, while providing sport-specific training to young people. Its founder, Jamie Tresidder, was a student at SSE Cornwall on the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme 2016-17.
My background’s always been in sport. I used to work as a community leisure officer, before managing the sports development programme in Falmouth – where I worked in a very deprived area on a large housing estate.
In 2013 I joined Cornwall College and ran the sports programme there. By the time that contract came to an end, I was ready to start my own thing. I set SPARC up in May 2015. It improves people’s lives by helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds access sport and physical activity, while providing sport-specific training to young people.
The impact of the programme was massive, right from the beginning.
I launched SPARC to help people who don’t have access to sport get access. I knew what a difference sport and physical activity could make to people’s lives – how it improves confidence and can be used to open up discussions about other issues that might be going on.
I joined the Lloyds Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme in 2016. I’d already registered SPARC as a not-for-profit limited company and had a small pot of funding, which I’d managed to raise through my network, but I was still only just starting out.
I knew I could deliver good products, but I needed to learn how to deliver a good business
The impact of the programme was massive, right from the beginning. I knew I could deliver good products, but I needed to learn how to deliver a good business. The programme showed me the governance I needed and helped me connect with the business.
The most important thing to me is helping people in my community. I work with around 200 people each week, from young kids in foster care to people in care homes and adults with disabilities.
I offer quality over quantity, which means the sessions are tailored and I invest in the people we work with. For example, we provide sports training qualifications and counselling sessions to the young dads who come to play football as part of the Brook Young Fathers project.
The programme has improved all my business skills – from public speaking to budget forecasting. It’s shown me how to combine social impact with a business model to make SPARC more sustainable, so we can keep doing the work we’re doing throughout the South West.