Our story

Age Exchange made history 39 years ago, as the UK’s first organisation in Europe dedicated to reminiscence and intergenerational arts. Many origins for social prescribing and arts-based care interventions are found in our history.

The heart of a community

The charity had a revolutionary idea – creativity and conversations can connect with people living with dementia in incredible ways and in doing so, change their lives for the better. Whilst a person’s ability to communicate with words may decline with the development of dementia, art and creativity is a universal joy and a tool for self-expression that remains, even as the condition progresses.

2018 a new era

Today, we continue to break boundaries, becoming, in 2018, the only arts charity embedded within in a social care provider, as a subsidiary charity of Community Integrated Care. Age Exchange, with Community Integrated Care, has a unique mission to bring arts, culture and creative expression into the lives of thousands of people who draw upon social care, live with dementia and face isolation.

Community Integrated Care employs 6,000 staff and delivers 10 million hours of care annually. Community Integrated Care sought an innovative arts partner, capable of scaling to bring creativity and social connection into the lives of the people who have learning disabilities, autism, mental health concerns, brain injuries and dementia.

Community Integrated Care successes have included

We are more than just a dementia service

The founders of Age Exchange realised that people living with dementia still have much to contribute to society and they are very much part of our vibrant community in Blackheath.

Age Exchange is much more than a typical dementia care service. Age Exchange has something for everyone. Young and old alike. Our bustling community hub is a welcome space for a coffee, a chance to take part in an activity class or to volunteer in our library or not for profit café. It’s as much a home to mums and toddlers enjoying cakes and games in the café, as it is for families touched by dementia.

As a charity we rely on our incredible volunteers. Age Exchange promotes and supports active ageing by bringing people together.

Our unique approach to dementia intervention has an incredible impact of quality of life, helping people to rediscover their voice, their ability to dance or simply to have fun again.

Age Exchange has created many inspiring art projects across the generations. We work with schools, in neighbourhoods and with communities – anywhere there are stories that we can support, develop and protect for the future.

We offer specialist training and consultancy services to deliver our Reminiscence Arts practice in your workplace or community.

Our goals

  • Reduce isolation and loneliness amongst older people and people with learning disabilities through access to the arts
  • Promote intergenerational understanding through creativity and culture
  • Improve the quality of life and care for older people, people affected by dementia and people with a learning disability through access to the arts
  • Support carers to maintain their health, happiness and wellbeing
  • carers to maintain their own health and wellbeing

Age Exchange strives to be person-centred, creative, open and inclusive in all that we do. We believe that these values are central to health and wellbeing.

Our values

  • People are at the heart of everything that we do. We believe that focusing on the individual, their stories and experiences is the cornerstone of reducing loneliness and improving wellbeing.
  • We use the creative arts as the basis for our reminiscence work.
  • We want to create an environment where everyone feels valued and included. We recognise that differences exist and thus respond to individual needs.