• Why Sports

A.C.E. Supports Health And Wellbeing For Everyone

Steve and Tony’s commitment is unfaltering; they have just taken on their first apprentice and are looking to recruit more support from businesses who share their ambition to be the catalyst to create happier, healthier and better-connected communities.


Despite the enormous challenges thrown their way by the Coronavirus pandemic, a Stockport community initiative is continuing to play an important role in supporting the health and wellbeing of local people, even during the lockdown.


Driven by their passion and a joint mantra that physical activity is a ‘natural human right that everyone should have access to’ and after running several successful community projects, Tony Farrar and Steve Cunningham set up ACE – Active Community Experiences, a not-for-profit organisation limited by guarantee, to provide activity and healthy living opportunities for local people of all ages.


"The positive impact we were having on the community was undeniable and great to see!"

Founders Tony and Steven’s initial aim was to provide opportunities for people to make positive lifestyle choices and adopt a healthier way of living that would benefit both their own mind as well as their physical wellbeing. In June 2019 they launched a range of outdoor activities on a pay-as-you-go basis for just £10 per month local to the Edgeley, Adswood and Bridgehall areas. The proposition was just taking shape when Covid hit so, undeterred, activities continued outdoors in different ways: on the field, training camps, football – on a pay-as-you-go and what-you-can afford basis to ensure inclusivity for all.


During the summer last year when lockdown eased, Steve and Tony spoke to the community via their Facebook group and within 24 hours, they had 1700 responses and a wide mix of ideas for ACE activities from Zumba to Gym and just about everything in between!


Tony explains;


“The response was overwhelming and, thanks to the support of Alex, the headteacher at Bridgehall School, at the beginning of last September 2020 we were able to offer sessions at the school every day from 3 pm to 9 pm, still at only £10 per month. By the end of September, we had 150 members and a team of experienced coaches. The positive impact we were having on the community was undeniable and great to see, largely due to our members having a focus, feeling valued and a purpose away from the streets.


“We could see the potential in being able to expand ACE but were also mindful that, although it had to be a sustainable business, we wanted anyone to be able to join in. We decided to try to get some match funding from local businesses and patrons. First out of the blocks to offer their support were Lorna Stockwood (a governor at Bridgehall school) and her husband along with Stockport County owner Mark Stott.


“Their generosity has transformed lives. We’ve seen more community cohesion, improved mental health & wellbeing and less anti-social behaviour proving we can make a difference.”


Lorna is now a Director of ACE and, like Steven and Tony, is ambitious for the future. They want to develop the programme across the Borough. As soon as lockdown allows, ACE will be offering activities from Adswood Primary School too.


Next on their agenda is to develop three core strands of the ACE programme: ACE health, ACE employment and ACE education – to help improve literacy and ‘school-ready pupils.


Steve and Tony’s commitment is unfaltering; they have just taken on their first apprentice and are looking to recruit more support from businesses who share their ambition to be the catalyst to create happier, healthier and better-connected communities.


Learn more about the great work ACE are doing across the community at the Why Sports Lower Socio Economic Groups webinar, 5th May 2021.


Find out more and get in contact –


ACE Website

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