A leading Rossendale public relations agency has become an Employee Ownership Trust, sustaining the 21-year-old company’s legacy and culture for years to come.

Under the plan, the majority share of the Rawtenstall company's equity transfers into the legal trust on behalf of employees.

The existing leadership team at Viva, which oversaw turnover growth of 26 per cent last year to a new record, will remain in place and maintain day-to-day operational oversight.

Founded by managing director Tony Garner in 2002, Viva has grown over the past two decades into an award-winning firm of 13 employees serving high-profile clients like BAE Systems, Eurofighter, NHS trusts and local authorities.

Tony said: “I believe this step is the right way forward for Viva. We’ve spent the last 20 years establishing our name and I see the Employee Ownership Trust as a great way of securing our future. Our employees benefit, and our clients have a clear picture too.

“We are in essence a people business and we’ve been successful thanks to our talent and culture. Our leadership and our team have ensured we have enjoyed excellent client retention even through challenging times while remaining a great place to work.

"Having employees own that success themselves will only accelerate our agency’s ability to deliver excellence.”

“The first 21 years have been a great adventure, the Employee Ownership Trust provides a path to boost productivity, employee satisfaction and service quality for many more years to come.”

The agency has built its name on delivering impact-focused storytelling and meaningful results for its clients.

Viva’s leadership feel that the creation of an Employee Ownership Trust, often dubbed the John Lewis model, will ensure employees have a clear stake in the collective success and independence of the agency.

Umar Memon from Jack Ross Chartered Accountants, alongside Steve Walker from Livingstons Solicitors, played a role in facilitating the transition. 

Umar Memon, Managing Partner at Jack Ross said: "Working with Viva during their transition to an Employee Ownership Trust was a fulfilling experience.

"Witnessing a company take such a significant step towards employee empowerment and long-term sustainability is always rewarding.

"Our role involved detailed planning and close collaboration with Viva's team, ensuring that the transition complied with legal, tax and accounting requirements and aligned with the company's ethos and future aspirations."