Social Care Curry Club

Love curry? Love social care? You are in!

Tag: hosts

September eat-ups #socialcarecurry

September Social Care Curry Club is taking place in just over a week, on Thursday 4 September. You can now book the following places (details of venues and times are in the eventbrite links listed):

Derby with Simran hosting

Glasgow with Fiona and Alison hosting

Hemel Hempstead with Javeda and Annie hosting

Middlesbrough with Rachael hosting

Newton Abbot with Sam and myself hosting

Southampton with Angharad and Hilary hosting

Stoke-on-Trent with Amanda hosting

Wokingham with Brian hosting (please note this is happening a day early than the others on the Wednesday as a one off)

We had hoped to also have curry in Belfast (may still) and in Birmingham and Liverpool but no-one has responded to calls to co-host, and it seems pointless to arrange a curry for one and logically if there aren’t enough people to find a co-host then there wont be others at it. If you would like to co-host or attend please add your name to the bottom of this post as a comment.

Thu 28 Aug update: I’m delighted that we can confirm we have Belfast as an option next week, with host Laura. This is the first time we’ve had an eat-up anywhere in Ireland, and we really hope it proves successful.

London is also now happening, thanks to Natasha finding a fully accessible venue (we believe, all facilities on the ground floor) – all welcome.

JuneSCCC

Also we have had numerous enquiries about London. It would appear to be incredibly difficult to find London venues that are genuinely accessible, as much as Sue kindly agreed to go back to the place that tried to ban her and Faith (the coolest dog on the internet). We have tried four venues in London now and none have ticked all boxes: accessible, good value for money, near mainline train stations. Something has to give, and we’re not prepared for it to be accessibility, or ideally value for money, because that just becomes another barrier for participation for people. The mainline train stations is (I think, as ever shout if I’m wrong) a slightly lesser priority because if you’re getting a train into London, perhaps you could consider hosting an eat-up wherever you’re coming from? I have no real idea, sorry curriers, I’m stumped on this one and it’s a slightly taxing problem to have to try and solve from Devon!

If there is someone prepared to host in London who can find an accessible curry house then please, please add your name and venue to this post and I’ll get the booking set up. If there isn’t that’s cool, I suggest we give London a miss in September and convene a crack group of ninja curriers to solve the problem in time for December – feel free to add your name if you’d like to convene that group or join it.

Social Care Curry has always relied on its network to make it happen, it’s not complicated, book a venue, advertise and see the magic happen (no sales)….but ‘we’ are not a team of staff, we can’t advise on local venues or book them for you, and we can only do a certain amount of promo.There is still just about time to set up new eat-ups if you’re sitting there wondering why your local area hasn’t got one. Just add your name, venue and time below and I’ll add it to eventbrite with the others. You then need to do the leg work to drum up interest, and in just over a week there will be scores of people sitting down to eat curry and chat social care. Magic.

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Calling all hosts – 4 September 2014 eat up

It’s that time of year again and we’re on the look out for hosts for our September eat-up. Our last eat-up in June saw 15 groups gather across the UK and since then we’ve had a one-off eat-up that coincided with the JSWEC Conference last month. We’ve also celebrated our first birthday!! Not that we did anything except blog about it – you can read it here, and it includes my take on the secret of our success!!

Anyhow, back to September. If you’d like to host on Thursday 4 September, it’s the same drills as always – please add a comment to this blog post, with your name, your co-host if you have one (we will crowdsource you one if you don’t), your suggested venue/location. The comments will be made public so don’t include your email address or anything you’d like kept private.

Our requirements are minimal. Ideally eat-ups start at the same time everywhere 19:30 (but you can alter this if you must, however the time was set in conjunction with previous attendees), we prefer it if no more than one of the two hosts have hosted before – this allows us to spread the host role and build capacity/a network of people who have hosted. We also ask that venues are accessible. You can read more detail here.

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Please get sharing and volunteering. Please feel free to offer on twitter too but please do comment here so we have all offers in one place. Please also offer again even if you’ve mentioned it in passing to Matt or myself, because we both have brains like sieves and will have probably forgotten!

Once we have a number of hosts we’ll add the booking pages to eventbrite. It’s up to you then to do the promotion. Thank you curriers.

ps We will also have another stand alone Social Care Curry Club at NCASC this year in Manchester…..watch this space.

Calling all hosts – June 5 eat-up

It’s that time again, the stomachs have started grumbling, the distant whispers of the relative merits of bhuna or jalfrezi can be heard if you listen really carefully, and the tweets are starting to pile up asking about the next curry club. Social Care Curry Club will return on June 5 2014 and we’re now at a stage of requesting hosts so please do get in touch. As ever with curry there aren’t really any rules except no sales, and you must pass the love social care, love curry test. If you can say yes to all of those then you’re welcome.

Birmingham

We are trying to spread the hosting around a little, so if you’ve hosted more than twice before please try to pass your responsibilities onto someone new! We also would much prefer pairs of hosts, if you don’t know someone that’s fine, we’ll get you a partner in crime but inclement weather and other unforeseen circumstances have meant we’ve lost several hosts on the night/just before – we know it happens, so we’re trying to plan for it. In fact on one fateful night last year the amazing Tim stepped up to the Scottish curry club mantle after we lost not one, but two hosts, due to flooding. So, pairs it is.

If you’d like to host please add your name and location (exact venue if you know it or town if not) below in the comments section and we’ll set the eventbrite page up for bookings. Some of you have already offered publicly and privately, please add a comment here or DM again and we’ll work it out. There’s a post that goes into the role of host here, it will probably answer every hosting question you have, if it doesn’t then please send us a tweet or leave us a comment.

JuneSCCC

What does a Social Care Curry Club host do?

This is a very common question that we’re asked when we’re arranging Social Care Curry eat-ups, so we though we’d put a post together to point people to. I wanted to start by reiterating that Social Care Curry wouldn’t exist without our volunteer hosts. While you could argue it wouldn’t exist without it’s punters, it certainly wouldn’t be more than a good idea without our lovely hosts. It is these people who encourage, coordinate, arrange, market, book, tweet, welcome, blog and generally support Social Care Curry to make sure that people can actually come together once a quarter to talk social care and eat curry. A quick question and answer for you, based on I’m thinking of volunteering to host….

Q. What would I have to do? The bare minimum is book a curry house and turn up on time to welcome people on the night. Some hosts have taken it upon themselves to market their events, some have spoken to journalists for us, and some are amongst our biggest advocates, but the minimum is enough.

Q. How much time will it require? Hmmm, how long is a piece of string? Again the least amount of time is a couple hours on the night, we try to ensure all curries start at the same time (7pm) although ideally we’d like hosts to be there a little earlier. Any more time than the evening itself is up to you. We manage all the bookings centrally so there is no need to email people or book people on – you’ll receive an email a couple weeks before with your booking numbers at that point, and then again on the day with updated numbers. Some of our larger eat-ups find it easier to negotiate a set menu, so everyone knows in advance what they are paying. This can sometimes take time to arrange, and some additional emails or phonecalls, some of our hosts take it very seriously indeed and trial a number of curry houses to check which serves the best food (this is not a requirement, they’re just curry addicts). 

Q. I don’t tweet much does that matter? Social Care Curry Club started with twitter and this blog, but there is no requirement that you tweet at all, as a host or someone attending. It’s optional, many curriers do, but not all. We’re keen to ensure that the word about Social Care Curry spreads beyond the twittersphere so not tweeting shouldn’t be a barrier to hosting.

Q. Will I get paid? Absolutely not, sorry, everything is voluntary. You are almost guaranteed a spring in your stride the next day when you remember that you helped create something so awesome, and brought so many strangers together, that’s quite special…but it doesn’t pay the bills.

Q. Can I use the opportunity to promote my business/product/vacant posts I need filling? We are incredibly strict about this, and it’s a big fat no. People have repeatedly told us that the lack of hierarchy, combined with the no sales environment, is what makes Social Care Curry Club so appealing, so you can not use it as an opportunity to promote yourself or your product, sorry.

Q. Will I enjoy it? Ummm, if you’ve got this far through the post, and are still considering it, yeh I reckon you will. It takes a certain type of person to be prepared to pitch up at a curry house and meet a bunch of strangers, but we think it’s worth it, and we’re confident you’ll enjoy it too. Feedback so far has suggested the only bit of the exercise that is not enjoyable, is working out the bill, which you can of course avoid if you negotiate a set menu.

Q. I’m not very senior/I’m a student/I don’t work in social care…can I still host? Yes, yes and yes. Our hosts come with a range of experience and identities. The only requirement is the requirement to attend Social Care Curry – that you love social care and love curry. If that’s you, then you’re welcome to volunteer to  host.

Q. Why do some eat-ups have two hosts? Since we started Social Care Curry Club last year all manner of spanners have been thrown in the works, mostly related to illness, horrendous weather and travel delays. In fact at the last eat-up neither of our Scottish hosts, Jon or Anna, could make it to the venue, leaving a gallant Tim Kelly to step into the breach with a couple of hours notice. We like to think we’re reflective learners, and therefore our preference is always to have two hosts at an eat-up, to account for some of these challenges that can’t be anticipated. We are also keen to match together hosts that don’t know each other, which has resulted in some brilliant collaborations so far.

Q. How do you decide who gets to host? This is tricky, anyone who knows us will know that my (George) geographical knowledge is completely and utterly dire, and that Matt’s obsession with curry renders him almost incapable of saying no to the idea of curry, so there isn’t an exact science. So far we’ve said yes to everyone who has volunteered to host, although last time there were some eat-ups very close together. Our plan is to get the names and locations of people willing to host now (5 Feb) and we’ll make a decision on who and where in a week to ten days (depending on how many of you volunteer). This is our third quarterly meet up so where possible we are looking to build our network of hosts, but we do have a number of very experienced hosts who have offered to partner up, or provide support to new people.

I think that’s it, any more questions just send us a tweet @SocialCareCurry or leave a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Here’s to March 6 eat-up being our best yet.

Social Care Curry Club September Round-Up

Wow, what to say, where to start. Thank you all so much for supporting such great Social Care Curry Club eat-ups last week. We are still buzzing at the enthusiasm, energy, commitment and positive vibes that surrounded our eat-ups across the UK and in Canada.

Ruth, the editor of Community Care pulled together a blog post the morning after the night before and we were delighted that Social Care Curry Club made it to their front page. You can read it here. What follows is a largely pictorial record of our first ever consecutive eat-ups. We would very much welcome your input too so please feel free to add a comment or tweet us your highlights, and of course any learning points, we are keen to keep improving.

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First up was Vancouver where Ernie hosted 16 friends and colleagues including

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 23.49.58Vancouver Vancouver’s conversation snapped by host @ejbaatz. Then once our Canadian curriers were tucked up in bed the UK action started to develop:

CardiffCardiff’s calm before the curry club storm snapped by co-host @spinjayGlasgow Mother India’s menu snapped by @BonklesoulGlasgowFashionAccompanied by some fashion advice from co-host @Iandubya snapped by @C_Lightowler Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 23.58.46

SouthamptonPreserving twitter anonymity if required with amazing masks in Southampton! Snapped by host @JaxRaffertyLeeds The lovely Leeds curriers from @lo_jay

CanterburyCanterbury host @AdelinaCoHe with a curry that needed a big reveal! Taken by co-host @UK_JamesBrightonBrighton seemed rather posh with an amuse-bouche between courses, snapped by @IndeplivingLondon London however opted for a buffet, seen here in full swing, captured by host @BPotter38ManchesterManchester included a pair of newly-weds Mel and George snapped by co-host @Carey_Bamber along with a crowd of curriers ManchesterGroup BirminghamThe Birmingham contingent appear to have stuck to liquid refreshment!! Snapped by co-host @EddieC10 and in a later post we’ll share the result!

For now we’ll round this post off with some of the feedback tweets, please feel free to add your thoughts to this post too and don’t forget to pop 5 December into your diary now.

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Good luck curriers

When Matt and I initially discussed Social Care Curry Club we envisaged a handful of people coming together, to talk about social care and enjoy a curry. It was intended to be a relaxed and casual interaction, no presentations, no sales, no pitches, just people who cared about social care coming together.

We’ll let you into a badly kept secret now, we completely underestimated the appetite and interest that there would be. Times are hard, psychologically and financially, this isn’t exactly the best climate to try and introduce a concept of edible networking. Yet so far our simple idea has seemed to grab people’s attention. The proof will be in what happens over the next 24 hours and whether the appetite remains for future eat-ups, but if the interest so far is anything to go by we seem to be onto a good thing.

In two short months, when lots of people have been taking summer holidays and we’re always warned not to try and arrange anything, this has gone from a throwaway chat on twitter about who we’d most like to have curry with, and grown into the curry monster that it is today! So what does success look like so far? Well:

  • we have had a couple months of conversation about curry with some out of this world currytastic puns and now have 550 followers on twitter
  • we have been encouraged and supported by our network of curry lovers to grow this idea from a gathering that rotated around the UK to one that pops up anywhere globally
  • we have twenty volunteer hosts who will meet and greet on the night, who have liaised with curry houses and punters and carried the responsibility on their shoulders
  • we have had over three thousand hits on this blog so far
  • we have three spin offs that we know of @OTCurry, @PharmacyCurry and @SchGovCurry
  • we have contacted Norman Lamb and Aileen Campbell and are optimistically in negotiations about having a Social Care Curry Club eat-up in Westminter and Holyrood
  • we have twelve UK eat-ups in Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Canterbury, Cardiff, Chesterfield, Dorchester, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester and Southampton, and
  • we have one international eat-up in Vancouver.

We are still getting bookings and expect one or two last minute cancellations, but at this point in time 233 people will come together tomorrow. That’s over two hundred people who love social care and curry and living testament that sometimes simple ideas work. Have a great curry night wherever you are and don’t forget the hashtag #socialcarecurry

September eat-ups names

Meet our volunteer hosts 3

Hosts 3 boardWe’re hoping to introduce all our hosts to you before your eat-ups this week, but several are on holiday or just returning so we might not get to them all. We have introduced twelve already, you can meet them here and here and these are our next four. We’d like to introduce you to (L->R) Ernie, Jackie, James and Ian and you’ve guessed it they’ve all been asked to answer the same three questions:

1) What’s your favourite curry?
2) What are you hoping to get from the night?
3) If you weren’t at your own eat-up where would you most like to be?

Ernie (Vancouver) @ejbaatz

1. Vegetarian curry – lots of eggplant! (Ed:That’s aubergine for us Brits!)

2. A chance to talk with neighbours and introduce people who are interested in community

3. At a hockey game!

Jackie (Southampton) @jaxrafferty

1. Side dish: Bhindi Bhaji, Main dish: Lamb Korai

2. Great conversation and laughs too

3. Chesterfield – I was in the area last week and the countryside is phenomenal

James (Canterbury) @UK_James

1. Vegetable masala, and I have to have onion bhajis and peshwari naan

2. To meet a bunch of interesting people, open up the possibility of new ideas and have some laughs

3. Exploring a part of the world I’ve not been to yet

Ian (Glasgow) @iandubya

1. Lamb Rogan Josh

2. Informal exchange of news, views, informations

3. Probably Birmingham.

Just in case there are any of you out there slightly upset that we’ve not done this post in alphabetical order, or feeling queasy because the images don’t line up properly….we know, we’re sorry, but with regard to the first point – Ian’s photo was beyond cool (look carefully), and the second, we’re pushed for time and have no real design skill except that we’ve borrowed occasionally.

If you wish to help out in the future with writing posts or doing design type bits and pieces drop us a line, all help gratefully received. If you are just upset that it’s not following the system, know that we know and it upsets us too, but needs must!

Meet our volunteer hosts 2

Hosts 2This is the second post like this so you know the score by now, we introduce you to some of our wonderful amazing hosts so you know something about them. Today we’d like to introduce you to (L->R) Adelina, Ann, Guy, Jemima, Lisa and Paul and they’ve all been asked to answer the same three questions:

1) What’s your favourite curry?
2) What are you hoping to get from the night?
3) If you weren’t at your own eat-up where would you most like to be?

Adelina (Canterbury) @AdelinaCoHe
1. Brinjal Bhaji

2. Hoping to meet people who work on social care in Kent, I am sure I will learn a lot!

3. Doing the grape harvest in Mallorca, which is what I will be doing the night after the eat-up.

Ann (Dorchester) @asteroptions
1. Generally……Bombay aloo, chicken tikka, spinach bhaji plenty of popadoms pint of bangla please. I’m there…

2. Meeting new people: Good food good company good fun

3. In Southampton at Social Care Curry Club

Guy (Bristol) @GuyStenson
1. Goan Fish Curry

2. An enjoyable and relaxed evening with great food and good company, a chance to catch up with some old friends and meet some new faces

3. It has to be Leeds for me – although now that there is a Vancouver gathering I’d be very tempted by that one.

Jemima (London) @BPotter38
1. That’s got to be a lovely rich & spicy Dansak topped with some garlic & chillies….Yum, loving lentils!

2. The opportunity to chat about social care with lots of new people who share a love for social care, the majority being tweets I’ve not ever met in person so very excited to be taking part in what looks set to be a fab evening!

3. Now that’s a difficult one! Probably Scotland as I don’t get to visit as often as I did as a wee one (lovely Scottish mum from the highlands)

Lisa (Glasgow) @EllePats
1. I mostly love curries for the sundries. The best thing is a poppadom with spiced onions and lime pickle. Or a peshwari naan. Could you say pakora is a sundry? I love that too. Delicious.

2. What’s not to like? A chance to sit down, put the world to rights and have a good chat with people interested in similar things.

3. If I wasn’t at social care curry club, I’d likely be lying on the couch watching the rain pitter patter on the balcony. I’m loving the change of the seasons. It’s not that Autumn is my favourite – I just like the bits that are the in-betweeny stages – on the cusp of something else.

Paul (Chesterfield) @PaulSheps
1. My favourite curry is without doubt Tarka Dahl.

2. I was hoping to share my thoughts with like minded people people and learn from them what their main concerns are.

3. If I wasn’t at the eat up I would most like to be in Dubai at a very small restaurant called Ravi’s in Satwa where I first discovered Dahl some 30 years ago.

There are only a few hours left to book to attend next Thursday, so run over to eventbrite now if you wish to join us. We’ll try to introduce you to more hosts between now and next Thursday and we’ll also be asking you to share what you hope to get out of the evening, so get your thinking caps on!

You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think

I’ve been musing this weekend about our forthcoming eat-ups, most of which still have a handful of space if you’d care to join them – book here for the UK and here for Canada. I was thinking about how brave it is to agree to come along for a curry, with a bunch of complete strangers who you know nothing about. I mean obviously I think it’s a great idea, and I’m not trying to put anyone off, and I did just this back in July in Birmingham, but I at least knew Matt B would be there and I had met a number of the people attending before.

So, what of those of you who don’t know anyone. I guess this post is acknowledgement of the courage it takes and the potential anxiety you may experience in doing so. What I would like to reassure you of is that there are no gurus, experts, leaders or specialists when it comes to Social Care Curry Club. We’re all learning, together. With the exception of the nine people who met in July everyone is in the same boat, completely new to it, unsure of how the evening will go, who they’ll sit next to, what they’ll have to talk about. There won’t be any presentations, talks, show boating or showing off, well we really hope there wont be.

Each venue will have at least one volunteer host, you can meet some of them here. These lovely people have agreed to get to the restaurant on time, so no-one will be on their own. They will do their best to give everyone a warm welcome and then it’s over to the rest of us, the remaining two hundred odd people. It’s probably an obvious thing to say, but remember to look out for people, be welcoming, say hello and don’t form cliques in a corner. Of course catch up with people you’ve been long waiting to meet on twitter, or who you haven’t seen in a while, but it’s worth remembering that there is a huge range of people attending, with considerable variety of experiences and knowledge of social care, and you all have something to offer.

So if you’re still uncertain about whether to come I’d really like to encourage you to give it a go. We’re confident that there will be a warm welcome for each of you, and you don’t need to do anything but turn up, enjoy curry and speak to the person you’re sat next to. We promise we won’t put you on the spot, or ask you to answer difficult questions, or stand up and introduce yourself. If you’re particularly shy then maybe just let your host know (in advance or when you arrive – tweet/DM us if you don’t know who your host is) and they’ll find someone for you to talk to.

If this feels like overkill then you probably don’t need the advice that follows, but if it doesn’t then remember, the advice of A.A. Milne to Christopher Robin “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think“.

NPG x19574; Alan Alexander ('A.A.') Milne; Christopher Robin Milne and Pooh Bear by Howard Coster

Enjoy the curry everyone, and please do give it a go.

Meet our volunteer hosts

Hosts SeptWe thought that some of you might like to know a little more about your hosts before meeting them on the 5th September, we do understand how daunting it might be to turn up for a curry with perfect strangers. All of these lovely folk volunteered (or were press ganged into) playing host on the evening. Don’t expect too much though, we’ve asked them to liaise with the curry houses and turn up on time to meet and greet, then the rest of the magic is over to you.

Today we’d like to introduce you to (L->R) Angela, Amanda, Carey, Lorna, Peter and Susan. We asked all hosts the same three questions and what follows is their responses:

1) What’s your favourite curry?
2) What are you hoping to get from the night?
3) If you weren’t at your own eat-up where would you most like to be?

Angela (Leeds) @CommCats
1. Something hottish with chicken and ideally also involving chickpeas and/or spinach. Naan not rice.

2. A chance to meet some new people (many of whom are twitter ‘friends’ who I have never met in person) and to enjoy a nice meal. Hopefully some interesting discussions leading to connections made and lessons learned.

3. Ooooh Glasgow definitely…I love Scotland (well unless anyone is covering the cost of a plane ticket to Canada…or indeed extending the Westminster club to gobby, opinionated northerners!)

Amanda (Manchester) @AMLTaylor66
1. Tikka Masala

2. Continuation of connectivity established through twitter and JSWEC – to develop the cohesiveness of the social work, social care, voice.

3. At a UK wide curry club that could be live streamed and tweeted from – I would like it to look like Proms in the Park if we couldn’t be together!

Carey (Manchester) @Carey_Bamber
1. My favourite curry is Palak Paneer.

2. I am looking forward to seeing 20 plus folks in lively discussion about social care in one of my favourite restaurants.

3. It I wasn’t at the eat-up I would be at pilates!

Lorna (Birmingham) @Dosticen
1. Anything with chickpeas or lentils, e.g. chana puri, makhni dal … yum yum!

2. In terms of intellectual stimulation I’d like to explore the (growing?) overlapping ground between social care and community based work – issues such as social connectedness, individual and collective resilience etc. In terms of making and building relationships I hope to meet people who are lovely (for example at the first Birmingham Social Care Curry Club meet up I met Peter, who is lovely) and I hope to get to know people better that I know a little bit in a work context, for example at the aforementioned Birmingham meet up I spent 3 hours in the pub afterwards with Matt and George – and perhaps got to know them (and about cats) more than anticipated!

3. I’d like to join the folk in Vancouver, mostly because the focus of their conversation is more in my work field (they are discussing community and how we build community). However I’d need to borrow the Tardis, as I took a no flight pledge many years ago for environmental reasons, so sadly I’m very unlikely to ever visit Vancouver.

Peter (Cardiff) @Spinjay
1. I am a fan of most curries and willing to give anything a try. However if pushed to say one outright leader, I am partial to a Lamb Rogan Josh.

2.  I am looking forward to sharing some good food and meeting some good people interested in social care and putting the world (well Wales) to right!

3. If I was not heading to the social care curry evening I would probably be relaxing on the sofa watching Alan Partridge and trying to quote as much as possible “Ah-ha”.

Susan (Brighton) @SocialWkBalance
1. My standard ‘available everywhere’ curry is chicken dhansak but my greatest love is southern indian food of any kind – just like we’ll be having at the Brighton meet up!

2. Tandoori zeera swordfish, alleppey prawn moilee, lacha paratha …..oh, and some great company!

3. At a hostelry in Hove with my partner and mad pooch – but I am giving it all up for Social Care Curry.

DON’T FORGET THERE IS JUST ABOUT STILL TIME TO BOOK TO JOIN THESE LOVELY HOSTS (EXCEPT LORNA AND SUSAN WHOSE EAT-UPS ARE FULLY BOOKED) – VISIT EVENTBRITE AND SAVE YOUR SPACE.