Category Archives: News

Care Home Open Day Highlights

” I don’t want to go home!” commented a visitor on Saturday afternoon.

What a day … what a week! This year as always, Middleton Hall took part in the annual Care Home Open Day programme. This is a valued national initiative that lends an opportunity to show others what life here is like.

The theme for all care homes in 2018 was ‘Linking Communities’ and we chose to focus on the topical subject of the Commonwealth. Each of the care services – Middleton Court, Gardens, Oaks and Grove chose a different Commonwealth country to feature in their activities throughout the preceding week. It was busy, busy, busy …

There was … a Commonwealth quiz, some arty-crafty Indian collage and bejazzelling elephant sessions, screenings of The King and I and Slum Dog Millionaire, and an array of tasty goodies such as Sri Lankan curry, Quebecois maple taffy apples, and Australian and French style cupcakes. The decorations were spectacular – in fact it was heard to tell Middleton Oaks from the real Australian outback.

Residents’ families were invited to come and see what we were getting up to. Everyone could enjoy the indoor curling and bowling, and the rousing performance of ‘Songs from the Musicals’ by the Middleton Hall choir.

It was obvious to all our guests that we don’t just have some great facilities but a great lifestyle within them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Evening on RMS Titanic!

It was simply a first class evening on RMS Titanic.

Residents who booked ‘tickets’ for their passage were delighted with the three course menu, re-created from the original one aboard the Titanic in 1912. They enjoyed selecting from the sumptuous range of four starters, five mains and some truly authentic desserts. A new wine list was launched, most appropriately for an evening such as this.

Residents dressed for the evening with pizzazz; a bottle of fizz was awarded to the best dressed table of diners. Many stayed on at the Captain’s Table.

There was even a special item on display – an intricate model of the Titanic, constructed over two years by a resident.

The kitchen team gives thanks for the many positive messages received, and adds that they thoroughly enjoyed it too! Unlike the original Titanic, which came to a tragic end, this boat will certainly set sail again.

Top Marks at the ‘Back to School’ Coffee Morning

“Did you ever get the cane?”

This was a very good question, one amongst many posed to residents by pupils from St George’s C of E Academy Primary School at a ‘Back to School’ coffee morning.

It was a lovely opportunity to for children and residents alike to learn a lot in a busy and cheerful hour of questions and games. We played Beetle; a game from our youths that some of today’s young ones were not familiar with. We Spotted the Differences together, and guessed the number of eggs in a jar.

Thank you to the school for making our day. Everyone received top marks for behaviour and there were no detentions!

LITTER-ally Bags of Support

Residents keen to ‘make a difference’ took to the local lanes on a litter picking mission.

Tired of rubbish being carelessly discarded in the otherwise beautiful Middleton St George location, they got together and enlisted the support of the Sustainability Team at the retirement village. As they set off with practical and protective kit, it was clear that there was work to be done. Even they were shocked at the volume and range of litter collected in just a 300m distance.

In total, 21 bin bags of items were collected with contents as follows;

5 bags of tins (545 in all),

5 of plastic bottles (170 bottles and 175 crisp packets)

2 of glass bottles (75 in all),

8 of general waste (approx. 65-75 items), and

1 of dog waste.

In addition, they found other weird and not-so-wonderful items such as a car tyre, an 8ft length of plastic piping, 2 x 25 litre plastic drums and a metal sign.

MD Jeremy Walford joined the team to lend a hand. He is a strong advocate of Sustainability – one of the 5 core organisational values. The litter picking was one of a range of moves to reduce impact on the environment in the local and wider community.

Councillor Doris Jones is another supporter and on hearing about the initiative arranged for the council to collect the bags for disposal.

All in all, it was a very productive, even enjoyable afternoon.

 

Winner of the Best Employer Award 2018 – Skills for Care

 Middleton Hall is thrilled to have won a much-coveted award – the Skills for Care Accolade Award, Best Employer 51 – 249 Staff.

In the care sector, this award carries a lot of weight. It recognises the continual commitment to recruitment and training. By becoming a benchmark adult care provider, we are increasingly able to attract the best members of staff across the whole organisation.

Best employer of between 51 and 249 staff from Skills for Care on Vimeo.

Skills for Care said;
“… the whole team at Middleton Hall are committed to delivering the highest standards of person-centred care in a welcoming environment”

A team represented Middleton Hall at the awards ceremony and Lesley Henderson, Finance Director attended the associated conference, held on the same day in London. Both events offered important opportunities to meet those from other providers. It was a very ‘buzzing’ affair, with lots to discuss and people to meet.

With Jeremy chairing and Pam Mooney, Operations Director attending the ARCO Operations Management Summit on the same day elsewhere in London, it really was a day to raise the Middleton Hall profile.

Jeremy Walford Managing Director said;

“Visitors to Middleton Hall might initially be impressed by our facilities, as we do indeed have some great facilities for our customers. However, as our residents will tell anyone, what really matters is our staff. Our investment in the very best facilities would be wasted if we did not employ the very best people to work in them. Middleton Hall is through and through a people business and I am delighted that Skills for Care have recognised the efforts from all our team”

On a more light-hearted note, the host for the awards ceremony was Anton Du Beke, best known for his long-running appearances on Strictly Come Dancing. He proved an entertaining and witty host.

All in all, the experience from the selection process to the presentation was valuable in many ways. It also highlighted ways in which the retirement village can continue to improve.

 

Pancake Racing 2018

Some flipping competitive pancake racing was seen in Middleton Spa!

In what is becoming an annual event, those looking for a bit of fun descended on the Atrium. It really was very funny. Fortunately a new stash of pancakes had been prepared, as the racing ones spent as much time on the floor as in the pan.

When the frying pan was too heavy, there was some out-of-the-box thinking and a table tennis bat was produced. There are no obstacles here – just solutions!

Aloha! Staff Celebration Evening 2018

Staff of Middleton Hall enjoyed a celebration event to recognise their annual successes. This year’s Hawaiian theme was well and truly embraced.  It was a glorious evening of colour, entertainment, fun and above all a sense of togetherness.

The event was held at the Hall Garth Golf and Country Club Hotel. Following tropical cocktails and a lovely two-course dinner, Managing Director Jeremy Walford gave a short speech to outline the many significant highlights of 2017. It was a year of firsts as Middleton Oaks and the temporary Medical Practice opened their doors. It was also a year of anniversaries as Middleton Court, Middleton Woods and The Waterside reached their 10th, 10th and 5th birthdays respectively. The CQC awarded a rating of Outstanding on all counts and the village was shortlisted for Skills for Care and Caring UK awards.

Training and long service achievements were recognised with certificates and gifts. Val Robson deserves particular mention for her magnificent 35 years’ commitment.

The senior management team then surprised everyone else, including Jeremy, with an accomplished (and hilarious) performance of the Haka! This was without doubt a highlight of the evening, especially as the All Blacks have provided inspiration for Middleton Hall’s core values.

After the formalities, such as they were, were over, the games and dancing began. Some talented hula hooping and limbo dancing was seen, and teams from across Middleton Hall generally let their hair down. Staff are even Outstanding in their approach to fun!

Woodland Walk with a Difference

This week saw the installation of the first outdoor gym equipment in our grounds.

The initiative combines the popular Woodland Walk and an opportunity to make some interesting stops along the way.

Robust and sustainable, the equipment is designed to be enjoyed by residents and staff of all abilities and mobilities. This particular set of apparatus is a good test for those who fancy a challenge on the bars. During the Spring months, further pieces of equipment will be added to different spots along the route. The range will be a balance of apparatus of all.

Looking forward to Spring!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Kitchen Cooking Up Now?

The kitchen has been a hive of activity since it moved into its new, expanded home in late 2017.

Following a successful festive season, the Kitchen-Front of House team launched three new initiatives, a new Orangery menu and some Kitchen workshops for residents to hone their skills and learn new ones.

Firstly, visitors to The Orangery are invited to enjoy Coffee and a Slice. Choose a tray baked slice of cake and a cup of coffee or tea for just £3.00.

Saturday mornings will be enlivened by the Saturday Breakfast Club. Tuck into a full English breakfast with toast, juice, tea or coffee at a price of £6.95. Booking is required (01325 331444).

Fish Shop Friday began on the first Friday in January, giving a buzz to the regular fish and chips menu. Guests are offered the BEST haddock or cod, fresh cut chips and homemade tartar sauce. A standard portion costs £11.00, with larger portions and lots of extras also offered for the mighty appetites.

The new Orangery menu is launched, with plenty of new dishes to try (and old favourites of course!).

Finally, the Cookery Workshops are proving very popular. Fully booked, they are a sociable affair and have some impressive results to show.

 

 

A Special Visitor to the Current Affairs Group

Several people have been keeping the regular Current Affairs host MD Jeremy’s seat warm whilst he is away for two months. This week we were delighted to welcome Chris Lloyd, Chief Features Writer at the Northern Echo and Darlington & Stockton Times.

In weekly discussions about the topics of the day, talk very often turns to the subject of the press. Who can we trust to tell us the facts? Who reports the news – is it those with ‘the authority’ to do so or is it increasingly everyman with their trusty smart phones? What can we do about fake news? How can the print press survive in modern times when ‘free’ digital news is so popular?

We therefore invited a contact from the world of the press so that we could hear it from the horse’s mouth.

Chris was a great speaker and his experience gave depth to the answers to our questions. In particular, he has a passionate interest in local politics and history. It was fascinating to hear about reporting in the days of Tony Blair, Mo Mowlem, Peter Mendelson and Alan Milburn.

He was also clear about the challenges that the print press face and the possible solutions.

We were still listening intently when the hour was up! Thank you very much, Chris.

Next week, we look forward to the Mayor and Mayoress of Darlington 2016-17 Brian and Doris Jones joining the group.