UK-based health charities announce merger to 'expand reach'

Reminiscence arts charity Age Exchange has merged with health and social care charity, Community Integrated Care.

The new merger aims to enable Age Exchange to benefit from Community Integrated Care’s infrastructure to grow its organisation and increase its reach. It also aims to enable CIC to elevate its existing dementia services and expand its offer to include Age Exchange’s reminiscence and dementia services.

Community Integrated Care currently supports over 3,500 people with a range of support needs, such as learning disabilities, mental health concerns, autism, dementia and age-related needs.

Age Exchange supports people through outreach projects in the Blackheath community and at its hub, which is visited by 180,000 people a year.

CIC currently employs over 5,500 staff, while Age Exchange is run by 16 people and over a hundred volunteers.

'No planned changes to organisational structure'

The charities said there aren’t any planned changes to staffing and organisation structure at either organisation as a result of the merger, and services at Age Exchange will remain the same.

Age Exchange will become a subsidiary of Community Integrated Care, retaining its own identity, board of trustees and governance agreements.

The partnership also intends to support Community Integrated Care’s five-year strategy, which is focussed on getting the organisation to reconnect with its charitable principles by working in partnership with community-based charities and organisations.

The charities said the merger arose following an internal review of Age Exchange’s sustainability in 2016/17, which revealed an opportunity to extend the reach and impact of its services by partnering with a national social care charity.

Age Exchange said Community Integrated Care was selected for its national infrastructure and its “exceptional” delivery of dementia services. The process was managed by Age Exchange chief executive, Rebecca Packwood.

'The merger will allow us to increase our reach'

Commenting on the merger, Packwood said: “We set out to find a national partner that provided both the infrastructure we needed to grow and synergy in terms of values and ambition - Community Integrated Care was the perfect candidate.

“This partnership will allow us to replicate the work we do in our Blackheath centre across the UK, dramatically increasing the number of beneficiaries we are able to reach.

“Community Integrated Care will benefit from our expertise in Reminiscence Arts, allowing it to further develop its award-winning dementia services using Age Exchange’s impactful strategies, which are the blueprint for the ambitious plans for this partnership.”

The two charities were legally joined on 27 July 2018 following due diligence processes and the unanimous ratification by the board of trustees of both organisations.

Community Integrated Care’s chief executive officer, Mark Adams said: “With 850,000 people in the UK currently living with dementia and those numbers set to rise to more than one million by 2025, investing in this partnership with Age Exchange supports our bold new five-year strategy.

“This represents a fantastic start to our bold new five-year strategy, as we begin to go back to our charitable roots, putting the people we support, our colleagues and the community at the heart of what we do.

“We hope Age Exchange is the first partnership of many to come, as we help more charities increase the reach of their incredible work.”

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