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News & Events
Reminiscence Centre Events

See the Centre Events page for details of current and future events at the Reminiscence Centre and Bakehouse Building in Blackheath Village.

"Children of The Great War" Installation and Theatre Production

In 2013 Age Exchange began The Children of the Great War, an HLF funded project which enabled Age Exchange to work across London on a series of open days collecting memories from children and grandchildren of people who had lived through the Great War. This material was shared in a project with University of Oxford on the Europeana 1914-1918 website and featured on the project website -

PerformanceThere were also intergenerational projects across London with George Mitchell School in Leyton, St Matthews Academy in Lewisham and Plumstead Manor School in Woolwich.

The project culminated in a film installation and a theatre production at the Bridewell Theatre in London in August 2014. The theatre production included children from St Matthews Academy and Plumstead Manor School. The young people worked with older people with family stories and created an extraordinary piece of theatre. Age Exchange was extremely grateful to teachers and staff at both schools for their terrific support in making this possible.

The film Installation by artists Simon Purins and Ivan Riches and was premiered at The Bridewell Theatre on Wednesday 30 August and the theatre production was presented on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 August at The Bridewell Theatre to two full houses. The theatre performance was written and directed by David Savill and Malcolm Jones. Music was written and performed by Eliot Short and choreography was by Donna Ford. The lighting was designed by Mark Blagden and the performance was stage managed by Hannah Angliss.

There was a lot of positive feedback from the production of the audience who took time to send emails or write on social media sites.

Children of the Great War installation photo"There's obviously a lot about the First World War on at the moment but I doubt if anything can better what you gave us the other night.".  
Mike Darbon, ex-BBC Producer

"Our aim as an Academy is provide our children with an education that is better than they would receive in any other have helped that become a reality for the group of children that you worked with. I look forward to the next chapter in our partnership."
Michael Barry, Principal St Matthews Academy, Lewisham

"The elders stood justly proud at the end, while the teenagers acted out their stories and devised movement sequences of power, imagery and strength, stood shoulder to shoulder alongside them; comrades in arms.
Pauline Flannery, Online Theatre Reviewer

“ ... it was such a honour to be there, and to see the fruits of your team’s ambitious and important project.   It was a powerful and moving performance, and I really enjoyed seeing how you used the family stories, and archives to create an imaginative and creative “real life” drama."

Zoe Darani, Lambeth Archives

"I thought it was beautiful in its honesty and simplicity. You collected some wonderful stories and very movingly told."

Andrew Alty, Creative Learning Manager, Wimbledon Theatre

"The Children of the Great War’ has done something very special in enabling stories held privately within families to be told publicly for the first time, stories unencumbered with historical analysis, mythmaking, overexposure, interpretation or political hijacking. It seems to me that heritage is about history being inherited, handed over from generation to generation and about how we come to understand the value of the past to our understanding of the present. Age Exchange encapsulates this at the deeply personal level of life experiences being handed over and shared in ways that enrich the understanding older and younger people have of each other."
Martin Spafford, Head of History, George Mitchell School, Leyton

Some photographs of the theatre production:

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Children of the Great War is funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund

Age Exchange launches Children of The Great War

Age Exchange, the leading British charity working in the field of Reminiscence Arts has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to deliver a London wide creative programme on the First World War. The focus of the project will be on memories and experiences of the War passed down through families and across communities.

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The project, Children of The Great War, will centre on the Home Front, and how family and community life was directly affected by the war, through participation in it, the loss and trauma families experienced at the time, as well as the effect it had on subsequent generations. Age Exchange will work with many partner organisations across London to record and share family histories from a diverse range of communities - telling the untold stories of the War and how it affected people in the city.

"We have worked for over a year to create the partnerships necessary to enable such an ambitious project to succeed,” commented David Savill, Artistic Director of Age Exchange. “To have the opportunity to work so closely with the London public and to enable many younger and older people to share family histories of such importance is so exciting and such an honour. Age Exchange is delighted that people will be able to participate directly in heritage and arts activity and see their family history brought to a public audience through exhibition, film, theatre and archive. We are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for its support and to our partners for having supported the planning and creation of the programme structure and application. Particular thanks are due to Piet Chielens at In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, Jehan Weerasinghe at London & Quadrant Housing Trust, and Doctor Stuart Lee and his team at the University of Oxford."

Sue Bowers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund London, added: “This is a great project that serves to capture intriguing individual and community stories; at risk of being lost from living memory, from this poignant period in our history. It is fantastic that these testimonies will be available online and contribute to remembering the First World War on the eve of the Centenary.”

Across an 18 month period, project activities will include reminiscence projects, intergenerational workshops, filming and recording of group and individual interviews, including exploring the theme through sharing personal heritage. There will also be open days in 8 London Boroughs where the public will be welcomed to contribute family history, images and text to the Europeana 1914-18 International archive.

In the final months leading up to the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War in August 2014, Age Exchange will integrate the collected memories into a touring exhibition and film installation, and a major intergenerational theatre production where young and old will perform both theirs and others memories gathered through the many hours of reminiscence sessions and archive collation. Following the completion of the project in Autumn 2014, the recorded memories, digitalised photographs, letters and text will rest with the Europeana 1914-18 Archive, in support of learning and research into the Great War by people across Europe.

FWW logoThe Heritage Lottery has awarded £82,000 to the programme which has also raised match funding enabling Age Exchange to support activity with £137,000.

Age Exchange is a member of The Imperial War Museum First World War Centenary Partnership.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 35,000 projects with more than £5.3bn across the UK.

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G&StT logoPioneering initiative that will model future provision of Reminiscence Arts in Care

Reminiscence Arts and Dementia – Impact on Quality of Life (RADIQL), is a three year programme created by Age Exchange. The programme aims to provide a model of excellence in the provision of person-centred creative care for older people in South London. It seeks to improve the quality of life and wellbeing for the older people who participate in the programme, specifically those with dementia.

The initiative has been funded with a grant of £595,500 from Guy's and St Thomas' Charity in line with their ambitions to support innovation in health which will improve the health and wellbeing of the population of the two London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, but which may influence changes in policy and practice more widely.

RADIQL aims to identify and develop a new form of reminiscence and arts practice to be piloted in end of life care, in care settings and the community in Southwark and Lambeth. It will enable participants to engage in therapeutic reminiscence arts activity, as well as increase their social interaction. The aim of the intervention is to improve mood and self-esteem and reduce levels of isolation, unhappiness and depression. RADIQL will also provide activity in Healthy Ageing Cafés, a support group for carers, and on-going mentoring and training for carers in reminiscence and arts based methodology.

The programme will be delivered by teams of Age Exchange practitioners both through group work and the provision of one to one sessions for those benefiting from focused individual support. They will work closely with professionals and family carers to ensure that the new model of care is informed by their shared expertise and experience.

The intervention will be evaluated by King's College London and Royal Holloway University of London. Following the initial two years of practice, and informed by the evaluation, Age Exchange will create a new professional role of Reminiscence and Creative Carer as part of its plan to embed the new approach across SE London and more widely

Reminiscence Arts and Dementia – Impact on Quality of Life, is a partnership programme between: Age Exchange, Alzheimer's Lambeth and Southwark, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Age Exchange will keep the public updated with information about the programme as it develops over the next 3 years.

“This major award from The Guy's and St Thomas' Charity is an important recognition both of the need to explore new approaches to creative care for older people with dementia, and the role that Age Exchange, with its unique expertise, can play in partnership with others, in working to establish new practice in reminiscence and creative care. We are grateful to The Guy's and St Thomas' Charity for supporting this pioneering programme and to everyone who has worked with us to secure this grant.”
(David Savill, Artistic Director, Age Exchange)

Hearts and Minds
Hearts and Minds project photo
Age Exchange is in its second year of delivering a major reminiscence and creative arts programme for people who use mental health services in South London. The programme is funded by the Maudsley Charity. Age Exchange is working in partnership with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust to ensure service users who would most benefit from participation in the programme are able to take part. Age Exchange is currently working in 5 continuing care units across South London delivering group reminiscence and creative arts sessions for older people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Group work is supported by programme of one to one activity for older people who are bedridden or requiring individual support.
South London and Maudsley logo
A key element of Hearts and Minds is a structured training programme for S.L.A.M. care staff and managers, providing them with training in specific reminiscence arts related skills and techniques. Training now in its second year will be enhanced by individual mentoring for care staff wanting to grow their own reminiscence arts activity within their care unit.

Hearts and Minds is being evaluated by Royal Holloway University of London led by Professor Helen Nicholson. The published evaluation at the end of the 3rd year of the programme will be utilized by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust to enhance the future provision of reminiscence arts practice for service users and professional staff.
More details>

Creative Caring Seminar

Age Exchange held a successful half-day seminar on 24 July 2012 to mark the end of our two year project, Creative Caring, a major reminiscence programme for residential homes and dementia care cafes across London, funded by the City Bridge Trust. The seminar explored creative ways to improve the quality of life and well-being for older people.
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Central to this programme was the training and mentoring of care staff, enabling them to work closely with Age Exchange project workers and learn complimentary skills in person centred care and reminiscence work.

The seminar was highly practical and hands-on, enabling participants to take part in two applied workshops, each focussing on a different area of practice used in work with older people.

The feedback collected from participants of the day was extremely positive. Here are some of the things participants had to say about the morning:

'Very engaging organisers and facilitators and an inspiring organisation ethos. Interesting to see the way the programmes rolled out and how to reminisce in multiple ways.'

'Perfect time and mix of activities.'

'Great to share ideas and get new ideas for practice and projects. I really enjoyed both sessions.'

'Inspired me to be more aware of individual needs and cultural differences.'

'Really great morning and very useful – lots to take from it!'

'Age Exchange always manage to stimulate and help me to reflect on my practice.'

'The sessions were very different but informative and a good mix.'

'Inspired me to treat my father differently.'

'Wonderful teachers/facilitators – very inspiring and humbling, a beautiful morning.'

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Dignity Through Creative Care

Seminar – held at the King’s Fund 25th April 2012

The seminar explored creative ways of improving quality of life and well-being for older people living in care and those with dementia. Dignity through Creative Care marked the conclusion of the first year of Hearts and Minds (a major 3 year reminiscence and creative arts programme for people who use mental health services in South London). The seminar included: an introduction to the work of Age Exchange and to the programme by David Savill, Artistic Director Age Exchange, a key note presentation by David Norman, Service Director Mental Health and Older Adults and Dementia, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and an evaluation presentation of the first year of activity, by Professor Helen Nicholson (and her team) from Royal Holloway University of London. Participants also took part in 3 experiential workshops focusing on the practice and learning of Hearts and Minds.

Many participants have requested copy of the power point presentations by David Norman, David Savill, and Professor Helen Nicholson’s evaluation presentation.

Seminar programme >
David Savill’s presentation >
David Norman’s presentation >
Professor Helen Nicholson’s presentation (RHUL) >

If you would like a copy of the published evaluation of Year 1 of Hearts and Minds please email your request to

Kings Fund seminar photo David Savill

Untold Stories website screenshot
Untold Stories

Age Exchange
has supported Untold Stories - the first major project to celebrate the impact of diverse communities on the culture of Cambridgeshire - with training and consultancy.

In addition, Age Exchange has created the Untold Stories educational website available at:

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© Age ExchangeTheatre Trust Ltd. 2014 (a company limited by guarantee) Registered in England No. 1929724.
Registered Office 11 Blackheath Village, London SE3 9LA Registered as Charity No: 326899
Patrons: Roy Hudd OBE Glenda Jackson MP Rt. Hon. Nick Raynsford MP Sir Sigmund Sternberg KCSG JP Baroness Greengross OBE