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 9th 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.
Our vision: To do the very best we can for each and every one of our students so that individually we make a difference but collectively we change society for the better.
Our Aim: To provide opportunities for learning, supporting people to gain skills, qualifications and develop confidence to enable them to take up their place in society.
Ethos: Our ethos is to provide an individualised approach to understand and meet the needs of each student, working in partnership with the student, their families and carers, their school and other relevant agencies to provide the best possible help and support to re-engage people who are in danger of being marginalised in society.
Our Operating Values: To operate as a not for profit social enterprise, providing education, training and support for people within our community. To value the people who work with us to ensure that we achieve our vision and that any surplus is re-invested in facilities, infrastructure and staff to ensure sustainability and development.
Our Organisational Values:
- Open and honest
- Individualised approach
- Inclusive and non- judgemental
- Working in partnership
- Reflective and forward thinking
- Community focused