Action in Caerau and Ely (ACE)

Cardiff, Wales

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Defining your own destiny as a small charity 

Reflections from ACE on the CAF Resilience programme

A charity that has had its main source of income cut is now working to turn that around and ‘define its own destiny’.

ACE (Action in Caerau and Ely) is a charity that aims to bring the community together by supporting local organisations, managing and developing local projects, and finding ways of regenerating the area of Ely and Caerau.

And after being on the CAF Resilience programme for the last year, the Cardiff-based charity is exploring alternative sources of income after 90% of its total funding from government was withdrawn.

Thanks to the programme, the charity has been formulating a new business plan to tap into traded income and is looking ahead to a more sustainable future.

CAF Resilience - one year on

Looking back on the last year, Dave Horton, Development Manager at ACE said:

“We are really pleased about the outcomes. A few things took a little longer than expected and happened in a slightly different order, but overall we feel we have made really good progress and have remained focused on areas key to our successful development and sustainability in a way we wouldn't have without CAF Resilience.”

He said that the charity’s board is now stronger as well, with trustees becoming more aware of the bigger picture and committed to ‘defining their own destiny’ as a charity.

The charity has also been able to set a new evaluation and monitoring system in place, and a new Theory of Change that has been planned and developed with the full participation of trustees, staff, members, volunteers and participants, creating a shared vision for the future.

Recently the charity has even secured almost £500,000 (over four years) from the National Lottery fund after demonstrating their ability to plan for the future.

The funding will help the charity by giving them the resources to tackle in-work poverty. Dave added: 

“Strategic work completed under CAF Resilience has really helped us present a clear and credible vision to these funders.

“In the last year, we feel much clearer about our goals, why they're important, how they will support our resilience and how we will achieve them. The strategic management of the organisation feels clearer and more coherent than before.”

A happy group photo of the people supported by the charity, Action in Caerau and Ely

About ACE

With much available work now being low-paid, and a lack of opportunities, the organisation has been running bespoke workshops and training to support employability in the area and also offer mentoring and support.

Between 2013-2018, the charity helped 530 people gain employment and 800 people gain qualifications.

In addition, the charity offers free home energy advice, to help people take control of their energy costs, and runs The Caerau And Ely Rediscovering (CAER) Heritage Project, encouraging people in the local community to discover more about their local heritage through archaeological and historical research.

The organisation also runs free drop-in information and support sessions to help with benefit claims, while also offering grants for essential household appliances and foodbank vouchers for people in crisis.

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