Age Exchange is a renowned national centre for reminiscence arts and supports hundreds of people every week through outreach projects in the community and a hub in Blackheath. Each year Age Exchange’s centre in Blackheath is visited by 180,000 people.
In August 2018 Age Exchange merged with one of the UK’s largest health and social care charities, Community Integrated Care (CIC), becoming a subsidiary. The partnership enables Age Exchange to benefit from CIC’s infrastructure to grow its organisation and increase its reach, while enabling the latter to elevate its existing dementia services and expand its offer to include Age Exchange’s industry-leading reminiscence and dementia services to the people they support. The merger has also helped raise Age Exchange’s profile and strengthen CIC’s charitable focus.
Age Exchange had several income streams, but the financial viability of the overall charity was in question and their priority was to safeguard the unique reminiscence services they offered, within a new structure if necessary. Age Exchange’s chief executive and chair both took a pragmatic view that they wanted to ensure the continuity of this vital service and the access of beneficiaries to it, rather than the organisation as an independent entity. They therefore sought help to evaluate and approach potential merger partners.
Eastside Primetimers worked with Age Exchange to help them develop a brief, profiling ideal prospective partners, and then drew up a longlist of 22 not-for-profit health and social care organisations across geographic two categories: London/South East organisations and national organisations. This was then condensed down to a shortlist of 11, which Eastside Primetimers approached on behalf of Age Exchange. Eastside Primetimers also helped develop an information pack on Age Exchange for prospective partners.
These approaches led to productive conversations in the months that followed, but Age Exchange ruled out several small partners on the grounds that this would not address their challenges. After a successful meeting with CIC in December 2017, they began the process of formal merger and announced their partnership nine months later.
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