News from Age Exchange

May 2024

I would like to introduce to you Yvonne Roye who is taking on the role of Operations Manager for Blackheath, which covers all aspects of Gemma’s job.

Yvonne brings with her a wealth of expertise in managing administrative functions across various sectors, including healthcare, property, and non-profit organisations. Most recently this has been as Centre Manager of the Grade II listed Chislehurst Business Centre, with sole responsibility for managing clients and the building ensuring its continued maintenance and care.

Previously, as Business Manager for the NHS Bexley GP Federation, for over six years she spearheaded the day-to-day operations of the business, developing out of hours GP Hubs within the borough and took on facilities management, and financial responsibilities.

Before that Yvonne worked for Bromley Age UK formally known as Age Concern, working alongside the Director maintaining a smooth service for the community, working with volunteers and cultivating partnerships within the community using her experience in PR and Marketing to start community initiatives and develop community engagement.

With a calm, adaptable demeanour and a focus on delivering results, Yvonne is excited to bring her extensive experience and unwavering dedication to this new role as Operations Manager, and looks forward to engaging with the team of staff and volunteers to contribute to the success and development of the Age Exchange Hub.

New Café Manager appointed

While I am talking about staff changes, you all know that Piroska left us earlier this month to focus her attention and energies on the excellent family restaurant, with Sandor leaving shortly after.

We are so happy to welcome Emma Denning as our new Café Manager. Emma used to run her own café Emma’s Pantry at Shrewsbury House Community Centre and brings with her a huge amount of experience and creative ideas she plans to implement in the café.  Along with Emma we have recruited part time café workers Jen De Mendonca and Kate Chubb and Aileen Murray continues to work with us. We really feel the café now has a complete team with great ideas and recipes!  Look out for our summer menu and exciting new events.

We have a wide selection of sandwiches, toasties, treats and more from our spring menu featuring daily specials, discounts and a kid’s menu with gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian options.

As the weather warms up, we invite you sit outside in our garden. Whether you’re catching up with friends or simply soaking up the sunshine with a good book, our garden is ready for you.

Please show your Friends card to receive a 10% discount

Thanks for your support

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the café/hub team, staff and volunteers, for being so amazing during this time of change. Your commitment to and belief in the charity is unwavering.  You bring a joy that sets Age Exchange apart and brings customers back once they experience it.  I know that once we have the team in place to support you, you in turn will support us to develop what we offer and make the hub even more amazing!


June 2023

Age Exchange has proudly partnered with the RSPB, WWF, and National Trust, to create an accessible activity pack to be used by the wider social care sector.

The pack is part of a series of free resources produced in partnership with our partner charity, Community Integrated Care.

The unique arts, games, and reminiscence activity pack has been designed to enable people who draw on social care to enjoy many special moments, inspired by nature. With the support of the RSPB, WWF, and National Trust, and inspired by Sir David Attenborough’s incredible ‘Wild Isles’ series, this resource offers a range of innovative and person-centred activity ideas that have been purposely created for social care.

The ‘Creative with Nature’ pack contains nine special experiences, conceived by our charity through arts, music, crafting and reminiscence, enabling people who access care and support to create stunning new works and learn new skills – at home or in their community. These activities have been co-produced and developed with people supported by our charity.

Further resources, which include a ‘Walk With Nature’ pack and ‘Supporting with Sensory Gardens’, have also been produced by Community Integrated Care. The programmes aim to promote the benefits that nature can deliver, whilst also empowering people who access support to enjoy the nature that is around them.

They are all available to download for free

David Savill, Artistic Director at Age Exchange said:

“Nature is a tried and tested method of improving our wellbeing. It is also at the heart of many of our happiest memories, and this resource has positively impacted people who live with dementia – enabling them to connect with treasured memories and times with their loved ones.

However, we truly believe that these activities can benefit people from a range of other backgrounds, as a diverse, creative, and adaptable set of ideas that will make an impact in many social care settings. We hope that many people enjoy making new memories together, inspired by nature.”

June 2023

Fond farewells to our long-standing Trustees

Age Exchange will be wishing a fond farewell to three long-standing Board members, our Chair Bridget Prentice, Amanda De Ryk and Carolyn Denne, as they come towards the end of their terms with the charity and pursue new goals. This transition is supported by the addition of three skilled and experienced new Trustees, who share a passion for and connection to Age Exchange’s mission and will help to lead the next stage of our strategic journey.

Bridget, Amanda and Carolyn have each made an incredible and long-standing contribution to our charity. Bridget has helmed Age Exchange for five years and has served as a trustee for over a decade. Amanda has served for nine years, whilst Carolyn has given six years of dedicated input. With Bridget and Amanda nearing the end of their terms as trustees and Carolyn having important voluntary commitments within the local healthcare sector, this is the right time to transition to new trusteeships.

On going relationships

Importantly, Bridget, Amanda and Carolyn will continue to maintain positive relationships with Age Exchange and support the charity in other capacities. Carolyn is an active member of Age Exchange’s Friends Of Age Exchange membership group and Amanda will continue to champion the charity from her role as a Trustee of our parent charity, Community Integrated Care. Bridget’s connections and influence will continue to support Age Exchange, including helping to find exciting opportunities to celebrate our upcoming 40th anniversary.

A careful transition is being planned to new Trustee leadership. Experienced local authority Leader Sean Harriss will be taking the role of Chair of Age Exchange in August. As a former CEO of local authorities, including Harrow, Lambeth and Bolton, and with significant experience in supporting the third sector, Sean brings a wealth of leadership skills and expertise to the charity. Having provided strategic support to Age Exchange and Community Integrated Care this year, he has an important appreciation and understanding of our charity.

The Board of Trustees was further enhanced earlier this year by the appointment of Jay Muthu, who holds the position of Director of HR at BT Group and has spent more than a decade working in London, and Danielle Chan, an award-winning Director of Communications and Engagement at Community Integrated Care. With these Trustees having a strong passion for community development, culture, and social impact, and bringing complementary new skills and connections to the Age Exchange board, they will make a valuable contribution to the ongoing success of the charity.

An exciting chapter

These changes come at an exciting time, as Age Exchange is nearing its 40th anniversary and is set to launch a refreshed strategy to further its impact locally and nationally. With Age Exchange securing several exciting joint commissions to deliver new programmes within London and across Community Integrated Care’s service portfolio and receiving prestigious recognition from leading organisations, including the National Diversity Awards, the charity is generating real momentum.

Sean Harriss says: “It is an honour to step forward as Chair of Age Exchange. I have enjoyed supporting Age Exchange and Community Integrated Care this year and developed a real appreciation of the important role that Age Exchange can play locally and nationally. I am excited to help share my experience to enable the continued progress of this historic charity.

Bridget, Carolyn, and Amanda have each made an incredible contribution to Age Exchange. Their tenures have seen them support the charity in many ways – including through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. They have delivered many successes, not least the successful merger with Community Integrated Care and giving the team their backing in creating sector-leading work. They are stepping down with real clear direction in place, as we follow our exciting new strategy and prepare to launch several new partnerships and programmes. We are pleased to have their continuing support, in their evolving connection with our charity.”

Fond farewells

Bridget Prentice says: “It has been my honour to lead Age Exchange for over a decade. This charity has consistently broken barriers and delivered innovative services that have changed countless lives, driven by the unique people and talents that make up the Age Exchange community.

Whilst I will naturally be sad to step away from this position, I do so with real optimism. Age Exchange is entering its 40th year with momentum in many areas, and in Sean, we have a hugely experienced leader to help guide the next phase of our strategy.  I thank everyone whom I have had the pleasure of working alongside during this decade. I will continue to champion and support Age Exchange and stay connected to this charity that is so close to my heart.”

Amanda De Ryk says: “It has been an honour to serve Age Exchange as a trustee for nine years. This charity has a vital presence in the local community and delivers exceptional, innovative support, so I take real pride in the role that I have held as a custodian of Age Exchange.

I want to thank all of the Trustees, colleagues, Friends and supporters of Age Exchange, whom I have enjoyed working alongside. I will continue to actively support Age Exchange, both in my role as a Trustee of Community Integrated Care and as a Councillor for Lewisham Borough Council. I am excited about the bright future for the charity and look forward to championing its work in any way I can.”

Carolyn Denne says: “Age Exchange is close to my heart, and I have felt proud to support its journey. I have learned a great deal as a Trustee of Age Exchange, especially from the fabulous staff and the people we serve.

I wish the charity and our partners at Community Integrated Care the very best for the future. I am pleased to be able to continue to play a part in supporting its work locally with the Friends of Age Exchange. My thanks go to every colleague, volunteer, Friend, and supporter who has helped Age Exchange become the remarkable place and charity it is.”