ACE is a not for profit Social Enterprise operating under the legal structure of a Community Interest Company (CIC)
Founder and Managing Director of Action Community Enterprises CIC (ACE), Lou Gardiner, talks about how it all began. Like Richard Branson says, “If you aren’t making a difference in other people’s lives, you should not be in business – it’s that simple”.
ACE opened for business in July 2011, located in Rackheath, ideally placed to support people from Norwich, Broadland, Great Yarmouth and North Norfolk. Lou’s vision was to make training and education more accessible for those who had previously disengaged or needed support, she wanted to inspire others to believe in themselves.
Now in their 5th year of trading ACE continually reinvests in the infrastructure of the organisation, year on year growing both in terms of facilities and offering. ACE offers a variety learning options both informal and accredited qualification at entry 1, 2 and 3 as well as Level 1 and 2 in the following vocational areas: Construction, Engineering and Motor vehicle, Catering and Hospitality, Art and Design, Sport and Leisure, Travel and Tourism, Health and Social Care and Child Care. To support these sectors we also provide training in Employability and Personal and Social Development, this year ACE has also added to their delivery portfolio of qualifications, English and Maths. Students can now undertake functional skills either as part of a programme or stand alone and gain a Pearson Edexcel English and Maths qualifications, (entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2).
Lou herself, as a teenager, struggled in school and knows too well that it only takes one person “to believe in you” to make all the difference. A handful of people in Lou’s life have made her what she is today, without their support in the early days and now ACE would not have been born and just remained a dream.
Thank you for teaching me and giving me the confidence to be have in my lessons - Ryan YR9
My time at ACE has been amazing. Loved every minute of it and can't thank the staff enough for how friendly and supportive they have been - Jess YR11 Engagement Student
I feel the employability sessions have helped me with my confidence going into a workplace situation - Emily YR9 - ESF Try the Trades Learner
Please can you make the course longer as it was very enjoyable but would love it to be longer than 8 weeks - Jake YR9 - ESF Try the Trades Learner
Thank you so much for your support with our learners - Assistant Principal - Flegg High