Age Exchange Dementia Workshop

A pioneering new service will be launched in Manchester that uses arts, creativity and reminiscence to transform the lives of people living with dementia, thanks to a charitable grant in memory of Jo Cox MP.

The reminiscence charity Age Exchange has been awarded a £97,500 grant from the ‘Building Connections Fund’ to establish a new arts-based dementia day care service at the EachStep Blackley care home, which is part of the charity Community Integrated Care. The Fund is a partnership between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the Big Lottery and the Co-op Foundation, which aims to tackle loneliness and isolation in response to the findings of the Jo Cox Commission.

The ‘EachStep Club’ is set to open in March 2019. The service will use arts, reminiscence and creative approaches to engage people living with dementia, and their family carers, supporting them to lead fuller, more active and sociable lives. In doing so it provides vital respite, support and assistance to families affected by dementia.

The charity has been awarded funding to operate the Club for 18 months, supporting up to 15 individuals – and their direct family carer, for one day a week. It is hoped that the service will enable people to stay independent for longer, relieve the pressure faced by family carers, and help to overcome the isolation that a diagnosis of dementia can create.

Age Exchange is the UK’s leading provider of arts and reminiscence-based dementia care. The charity was founded more than 30 years ago in Blackheath, London, and has been internationally recognised for its impact and innovation. This pioneering new service will be its first offering outside of Greater London.

The ‘EachStep Club’ will be delivered in collaboration with Community Integrated Care, one of Britain’s biggest and most successful social care providers. The two charities completed a successful merger in August 2018. The service will further enhance Community Integrated Care’s award-winning EachStep Blackley care home, which is based in North Manchester, enabling it to support people at the early stages of their journey with dementia.

Rebecca Packwood, CEO of Age Exchange said:

“This innovative service will change lives by bringing people together, enabling them to follow their passions and create lasting friendships and support networks. We believe that this unique and much needed service will be a fitting tribute to the memory of Jo Cox.”

“We’re currently carefully planning the service, with the aim of launching it from March 2019. We’re looking forward to fully announcing these plans to the local community in the months ahead.”

Mark Adams, CEO of Community Integrated Care, said:

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Building Connections Fund.This service builds upon our strategic aims of ensuring that our care homes are at the heart of local communities and that we deliver the most ambitious models of support.”

“We hope that this is the first of many exciting projects to be developed through our partnership with Age Exchange.”