Category Archives: News


Not content with its impressive rate of projects accomplished over the last few years, the photography group has set itself a new challenge. Or rather it wants the residents to set them one!

All are welcome to put their suggestions for photography themes to the group. Suggestion slips are available around the care services and at reception.

The group will take up as many challenges as they can over the coming months. We look forward to seeing the results, which will be on display in The Orangery.

St George’s Medical Practice Opens its Doors in Middleton Hall Grounds

On Monday 18th September, St George’s Medical Practice opened for the first time in its new home in the Middleton Hall estate.

The general practice, formerly Felix House Surgery, found itself in a difficult situation when Dr Adrian Marshall recently retired. The working space was integral to his family property and the surgery was to be left homeless when the space was reclaimed.

With no realistic options elsewhere, Middleton Hall stepped in and offered to provide an area for a replacement surgery to be built. Initially, this will be a temporary construction. In due course, it is intended that a permanent build will provide wonderful premises for the long term, giving wide ranging benefits for local residents.

Watch this space – literally!

Celebrating with an Anniversary Luncheon

It was clear that with the 10 year anniversary of Middleton Woods and the recent completion of The Waterside, there really was something to celebrate!

More than 80 residents attended the anniversary luncheon and a good time was had by all. The sense of occasion was heightened by the wonderful 3-course lunch, served in a marquee.

MD Jeremy opened the event with a speech that thanked residents for their courage in initially making the decision to move to Middleton Hall, at the time a concept with properties still unbuilt, tried or tested!

Middleton Woods and Waterside residents Jean Barr and Marion Pickersgill (respectively) each stood to say a few words. They praised the retirement village and the precious sense of community that has developed during the last 10 years. Marion said

It’s the best decision I have made in later life

The photographs speak for themselves. This was a joyful and memorable occasion.

Northumbria in Bloom GOLD Award for the 7th Year Running!

Our fabulous estates team is celebrating after winning a Northumbria in Bloom GOLD Award for the seventh year in a row.

Middleton Hall achieved a gold medal in the Best Kept Grounds of a Care, Residential or Convalescent Home, Day Care Centre or Hospice category in the competition, and were the overall winners for this category for the sixth time in seven years.

The judges cited the landscaped grounds of Middleton Oaks, the new ‘small group living’ centre as an example of a management style that is both proactive and reactive in its provision for the residents. They said, “This is a highly impressive retirement facility in every sense of the word and the staff are to be congratulated on its high standards”

David Richardson, the retirement village’s Head of Facilities added

“I am delighted for all those that have been involved in accomplishing the projects, including our residents. They have been involved at every step of the way, planting and even weeding as well as helping shape the designs and plans.”

Following the Yellow Brick Road on Fun Day

 ‘Welcome to the Emerald City’ was the dramatic theme for this year’s Fun Day.

Residents and staff spent many happy hours together making the extravagant decorations and costumes for the eye-catching event, inspired by the Wizard of Oz. All who attended the event smiled at the spectacle of familiar areas of the village revamped into Kansas, Munchkinland, the Witch’s Castle and the Emerald City. Staff members Gail, Erica and Amy Jones led guests along the Yellow Brick Road, singing highlights from the film.

Ruby slippers were not compulsory, but various characters including Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, winged monkeys and witches made an appearance and lead a large crowd in following the Yellow Brick Road in search of the Land of Oz.

To deserving applause, the Best Scarecrow competition was won by the Tin Man, and created by the Reception team and who definitely had a heart. Their entry was constructed mostly from re-cycled materials, in line with the retirement village’s sustainability aims. The Best Fancy Dress winner was Jak Patterson aged 5, who coincidentally was also the Tin Man!

The sun shone as families enjoyed themed refreshments with other guests in the grounds. Local band The Seasonal Singers then gave an Oz-worthy performance on an outdoor stage, set in the gardens.

Pam Mooney, Middleton Hall’s Operations Director, said:
“As always, this year’s Fun Day was fantastic entertainment and a chance for residents, staff and guests to relax and have a good time together “.

After a truly ‘fun day’, guests clicked their heels and it was time to go home.

A Great Sing Challenge

The SING! Challenge ….. What a fantastic afternoon! Enjoyed by so many, from those aged 10 to 101! And everyone in between.

All over the UK, in conjunction with Comic Relief, people in care homes across the UK joined together to sing ‘Sing’ by the Carpenters. The Middleton Hall choir did us proud, not only with a rousing rendition of ‘Sing’ but many other favourites that we could all sing along to.

We were delighted to be joined by schoolchildren from St George’s C 0f E Academy. They learnt the song and came to add a special energy to the proceedings. What a brilliant team!

Many residents came to enjoy the fun. The red nosed biscuits were a treat and all in all, it was a great afternoon. Over £38 was raised for Comic Relief too.

Thank to our choir and St George’s Academy for their hard work and smiles. 









And They’re Off … A Great Race Night Raises Money For Mayors Charities

Residents and friends gathered for a hugely enjoyable Race Night. Not only did we raise the roof with cheering our horses on but we raised money for the Mayor’s charities too.

Not everyone had been to a Race Night before, but it wasn’t long before we all got the hang of it. The evening began with a hearty, Irish themed supper and then the racing began in earnest. Compere Ian added professional know how to the event and soon we were all putting our money where our mouths were, betting on horses and even buying ownership of the horses we liked the sound of.

The first race was named The Chain Gang Classic, after the enthusiastic party of mayors and their partners who attended in support of the occasion. The other races, such as the Rose of Waterside Cup, Middleton Magic Stakes and Into the Woods Spirit Cup were equally popular.

The takings for each race were split 50/50 with half going to the Mayor’s Charities. The other half was divided amongst those who bet on the winning horse. Additional prizes were presented to the winning horse owners. 

Thank you to everyone who supported the event. In response to the very positive feedback …. yes, we will have another similar event in the future!





Finalist at the Skills for Care Accolade Awards

What an honour to be one of only four finalists in the Skills for Care Accolades Awards!

Middleton Hall was shortlisted in the category of Best Employer (51-249 employees) and we travelled to the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool for a Gala Dinner to celebrate the awards. We didn’t win but the event was a memorable experience and highlighted ways in which we can continue on our journey to achieve excellence.  We were delighted that Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Social Care at the CQC (pictured here, right, lower row) made a point of making contact to congratulate Middleton Hall on its Outstanding CQC rating.

The ceremony was the finale of a day’s conference, attended by Fiona Green, HR and Marketing Manager. Both during the conference and at dinner, it was a fantastic opportunity to meet and speak to other organisations that, like Middleton Hall,  strive to be the best. Dame Moira Gibb CBE, Chair of Skills for Care commented

“What unites all our impressive finalists is not just their clear commitment to supporting the learning and development of their people, but an ability to be innovative in the way they deliver care and support services”

As well as being an occasion to recognise high achievers, it was without doubt also a celebration. TV celebrity Samia Ghadie was an entertaining host for the evening and a live band provided the music for a spot of dancing. All in all it was a great night, and one that only make us more determined to continue with our progress and return in 2018.



















Outstanding Recognition from the CQC

Middleton Hall is proud to announce that we have been rated as outstanding following an unannounced 3 day inspection by the CQC in January this year. Under CQC’s programme of inspections, all adult social care services are assessed and given a rating according to whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. Middleton Hall was not only rated outstanding overall but the CQC found us to be outstanding in all five domains. This is a rare achievement as only three other organisations inspected in the whole of the North have demonstrated this level of service, an achievement Debby Lamont, Registered Manager and Head of Care and Quality is extremely proud of.

“I am delighted that the dedication and commitment by all our staff across the whole retirement village has been recognised. Everybody has a major part to play in the person centred service we provide. We continually strive for excellence and continuous improvement at Middleton Hall. This is embedded into our culture and value system. I am so pleased the CQC inspectors could see how we work with residents so that they really live life to the full. Without exception, every single member of staff genuinely cares about residents, each other and our wider community.

Debbie Westhead, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care in the North joined Jeremy, Lesley, Pam, Debby and all the staff and residents on the day the report was published to celebrate this high accolade.

Debbie commented “We found the quality of care provided at Middleton Hall Retirement Village in Darlington to be outstanding. The service is one of only three in the North of England that has received an outstanding rating for all five questions that we ask on inspection. We saw a caring service that encouraged people to remain as independent as possible.”

“Without exception, people using the service and their families, told us they were extremely happy with the level of care received and we saw highly motivated staff that were very satisfied with the work that they were doing. The culture at Middleton Hall was also very impressive. It was caring, open and transparent. Staff worked closely and effectively with other healthcare partners and really took people’s views on board and acted on feedback”.

“This unique service, which catered to people’s changing needs is truly setting an example, and I hope other care providers look to them to see what outstanding care looks like. The whole team should be very proud of the service they are providing.

Jeremy Walford, Managing Director of Middleton Hall commented, “The CQC inspects almost 25,000 services including hospitals, GP Practices, dental services as well as care homes and I believe only one other care home in the North has achieved outstanding in all five domains. Middleton Hall has always strived for improvement – our vision has always been about being the best. I am obviously delighted that the CQC agrees that we are outstanding. What is particularly significant is that the report covers every part of Middleton Hall – all our team contributes to our achievement of being an “Outstanding” and indeed we are fortunate to have such an outstanding team working at the retirement village.

One of the main factors in gaining such a high rating is our continual commitment to improvement. So, in case anyone thought we might rest on our laurels at this point – no chance.  There is still much to do on our journey of excellence and we will keep moving forward to make sure that we remain outstanding in everything we do.”  Middleton Hall facilities

Please click here to view the report.

Exciting Finds at Metal Detecting Workshop

A resident struck …. not gold, but copper at the recent Estates workshop. The group was using a metal detector to explore the Middleton Hall grounds in an entirely new way.

The find was a ‘Cartwheel Coin’ – a two pence coin, unusually made from solid copper and presenting the head of George III. Quick research shows these coins to have been minted only in the year 1797.

The coin may be a link to New South Wales in Australia, to where 18,000 of these coins were exported, and/or to the military. The year pre-dates the first known history of Middleton Hall being built on the land in 1820.

Other ‘treasure’ included small aluminium parts thought to have possibly come from an aeroplane which crashed onto the Middleton Hall site in WW2.

All in all, it was a very interesting morning.