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Oh what a night!

2016 was a fantastic year at Middleton Hall, with lots to celebrate and we certainly did our best to do just that. With a break in tradition, our annual celebrating success evening was held off site at the Hall Garth Hotel.  The evening celebrated the highlights and achievements in 2016 and also recognised our long serving staff.

Over 140 years of long service were celebrated this year, with Verna Pritchard, carer being recognised for 30 years long service. It was also 20 years since directors Jeremy, Lesley and Adrian came to Middleton Hall when the village began its real journey to making Middleton Hall the special place it is today. Other awards on the night went to Debbie Sanderson for 10 years service and Hannah Craggs 5 years. 







Others who were unfortunately not able to attend but who also were recognised for long service include Sue Hoggarth – 15 years, Jo Saddington – 10 years, and Gail Jones and Sue Gray – 5 years. It was a pleasure to give thanks to all the above members of staff for their contribution throughout a significant number of years.

We watched and remembered events and special moments from 2016 illustrating the efforts made from all staff.  The event is one of the ways we thank our staff for all their effort and the fantastic contribution they put in to making it the characterful and friendly place it is. The pictures say it all, capturing what was a great night enjoyed by everyone. Well done to Kirsty for her outstanding efforts of hand free After Eight eating.








A great night was had by all as we celebrated just as we work – with great humour, with exuberance and with each other.



Enjoy the Benefits of Middleton Spa Membership


Do you like the idea of being fitter and healthier in 2017?

If you are 50 or over, you may be interested to know that Middleton Hall Retirement Village is offering a limited number of monthly Spa and gym Memberships to non-residents.

Membership is £38.00 per month* and the benefits of membership include:-

  • 10m swimming pool
  • jacuzzi
  • well equipped, air conditioned gym and studio
  • the Atrium – an attractive, relaxing seating area
  • beauty therapist offering wide range of treatments
  • hairdressing salon
  • The Orangery, serving a range of drinks, nutritious snacks and light bites, with WiFi access
  • monthly newsletter and What’s On leaflets
  • a Rewards and Benefits scheme

The Spa is open 7 days a week. You will also be able to take part in Pilates and Tai Chi classes (both for an extra small charge) and enjoy the Middleton Hall grounds including Woodland Walk and bird hide.

If you would like further information or to arrange a no obligation show round of the Spa facilities, please contact a member of the Spa team on 01325 332207. They will be very happy to help.

*Subject to terms and conditions

Very Blue Monday!

Smurfs & smilesStaff and residents took it upon themselves to ensure they were not party to the overwhelming gloominess that is normally associated with the third Monday in January, known to many as Blue Monday. Notoriously known as the most depressing day of the year, staff decided to banish the blues in their own unique way.

With staff dressing up, residents were welcomed to the coffee morning by blue faced Smurfs and any thoughts of sadness were removed immediately to be replaced with a little disbelief, huge grins and loud laughter.

Moira Taylorson, Front of House Supervisor said “We may look blue but we definitely don’t feel it. Today is all about having a laugh, whether it’s dressing up, listening to resident’s favourite happy songs or hearing some of the limericks that staff and residents have composed for the day.”

All the staff had been asked prior to the coffee morning to compose their own little funny ditties or limericks with the aim to put a smile on everyone’s faces.
The pastry chefs and bakers paid their own special tribute to Blue Monday by baking and decorating some Smurf cakes.

The best laugh of the morning after the dance performance by the Smurfettes was when the limericks and poems composed by staff and residents were shared. This definitely made the chuckle–o –meter register. There were many but one of the limericks composed by staff member Gail Jones, got a big applause from the residents.

‘Middleton Hall is a fab place to be, especially when you are over 50
Lots to do and lots to see, nice food for lunch, great snacks for tea
So friendly and caring reassuring to all, Life is just wonderful here at Middleton Hall!!!’

It was NOT BLUE MONDAY at Middleton Hall.


Boxing Day Bravery


David Richardson, Alan Grainge and Carolyn Howe did Middleton Hall proud in a show of solidarity with Brian Jones, Mayor of Darlington.

All three members of staff braved the icy winds of the North Sea coast and ran into the waters at Hartlepool for the annual fundraising dip. Hard to believe for some, they all said how much they enjoyed the experience! There was lots of laughter and a great atmosphere as the Mayor and other fearless dippers sported various different costumes.

David Richardson deserves special mention. He raised £230 for the Mayor’s charities by completing his own personal challenge. During 2016 he set himself the target of running a very impressive 1,000 miles. The final, thousandth mile was completed as he ran into the sea. A fantastic achievement.

The goal of Living Well is always encouraged at Middleton Hall and David, Alan and Carolyn have gone to extremes to prove it!


A Very Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The festive season was much enjoyed, with many and varied events and activities for residents in all areas of the community. Middleton Grove, Middleton Court, Middleton Gardens and Family Living each had their own Christmas parties with a Restaurant lunch and entertainment. There were coffee mornings for all, a wreath making workshop, a Christmas concert and Christmas Fair.

Visitors were, as always, welcome to celebrate with relatives and friends. This year more guests than ever were in attendance for festive afternoon teas, special restaurant festive menus, and of course traditional Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve menus. 

It was a very cheerful season. Best wishes for 2017.  











brenda busy-group











Breaking News New temporary site for GP Surgery


Over the last few months Middleton Hall has been in discussion with the partners at Felix House Surgery about the future of the Middleton St George practice.  As you will be aware, the current surgery is due to close at some point. Although outline planning permission had been granted in the village for a new surgery, no progress has been made about moving to that site. Consequently, it was becoming increasingly likely that Middleton St George would be left without a surgery at all.

Following a series of meetings with the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) and NHS Property, we have offered to provide a site at Middleton Hall for a temporary surgery and work on a plan for a new permanent surgery in the longer term.  The temporary surgery would be provided in portacabins alongside a new car park in the field on the east side of the trade entrance drive (right hand side on the way out of Middleton Hall), opposite the Virginia Estate for a period of up to two years. 

This has now been agreed in principle by all parties, subject to a temporary planning application, and the NHS are working with us potentially to have this in place as early as April 2017.   The temporary site will be accessed from the trade entrance. In order to facilitate this, we will be widening the entrance and creating a two lane drive into the site.

At the same time, we have also agreed with the NHS, CCG and the partners of the practice that Middleton Hall would be the best location for a permanent surgery, built in the same field. As Middleton St George grows over the next ten years, Middleton Hall is increasingly central geographically to what is now a small town.

This provides the opportunity to develop an innovative GP practice to meet the future needs of the local community resulting in an improved medical service for our own residents as well as interesting possibilities for working collaboratively with the surgery in the future.

With the support of the various stakeholders, we will be applying for planning permission for a permanent surgery for Middleton St George in the same location during 2017.

We will be sharing more information about this in the New Year but wanted to let everyone know the good news before Christmas.

Finalists in the Skills for Care Accolade Awards



We were overjoyed to be notified as being one of four finalists in the Skills for Care Accolade Awards. The awards reward social care organisations that deliver the highest quality care and Middleton Hall is delighted to be recognised as such.

The award is specifically for the Best Employer of between 51 – 249 staff. The Skills for Care team looks for organisations who can show an effective approach to recruiting the right people, developing their staff to meet the needs of the people they support and who demonstrate leadership and management best practice. Middleton Hall has undergone an exhaustive process to demonstrate how it continually strives to implement this approach. Representatives from Skills for Care recently spent a day at Middleton Hall to assess first hand the practices that we have in writing.

We are proud to be one of the four best adult social care organisations in the UK and hope to progress to being the ultimate winner of the award, to be announced at a glamorous gala dinner in March.  

Recruiting now for Innovative New Centre

If you are thinking about a new role or change of career in 2017, come and visit us at the

 Recruitment Open Events at Middleton Hall  

Saturday January 7th 2017 10.00am – 12.00noon  or Thursday 12th January 2017 4.30pm – 7.00pm

 At Middleton Hall, we wish to recruit exceptional individuals who will share our passion for providing our residents with the highest quality of life in our new “family style living” centre. If you are a team player, with a positive and caring attitude who share our values for excellence, we want to meet you. We offer great rates of pay, terrific training opportunities and a rewarding working environment in which you can progress your career. Your personality, skills and attitude are more important than any experience in a care setting. Both day and night time roles are available.

New Family Style Living Centre - Artist's impression

New Family Style Living Centre – Artist’s impression

The construction of the £1.5 million purpose built family living centre is well underway with a completion date scheduled for April 2017. It is envisaged that residents will be able to move in from May.



The new centre, to be known as Middleton Oaks will be 2 x 8 bedded households and focuses on small group living within a home environment. There is a separate entrance to the centre through a covered winter garden. This lifestyle is particularly attractive for people who live with dementia promoting a participative and nurturing relationship in a familiar home setting. Please click here to learn more about family style living.

It is our aim to recruit all the additional roles required for this service by March 2017 to allow for essential training and induction of all the best practice working methods.


Do you feel you have the skills, values, personality and approach to be successful in this environment? Can you make a real difference to our residents, many who live with dementia?


You must be positive and committed to making a difference to the lives of our residents by enabling and empowering them to live well. The new households will be quite independent and those involved will need to have a wide range of skills, those used on a daily basis within the home. ie cooking, baking, arts & crafts, sewing, gardening.

It’s more than just a job.” Please click here to read how Sheenagh Young describes what it’s like working in Family Living .

Please click on the video below to learn why Kirsty Wilson Hartley loves working in Family Living at Middleton Hall.

Due to continued expansion and the development of a diverse range of services, Middleton Hall Retirement Village offers a wide range of employment opportunities, both full time, part time, casual and on a volunteer basis.  These include care, nursing, housekeeping, gardening, catering, maintenance, spa and healthy living advisors, front of house, HR and administration. Find out more at our recruitment events.

If you missed the events, it’s not too late! Please phone Jill Milner or Fiona Green for more information.






Middleton Court Magic


In typical Middleton Hall style, staff and residents of Middleton Court decided to view the redevelopment works in their area as an opportunity.

Whilst the main kitchen and communal areas are being upgraded, a temporary hot food cupboard and servery has been stationed in the Middleton Court lounge. This facility has been screened off, leaving a plain white hoarding (or as it turned out, a blank canvas).

The creative minds of Middleton Court lit up! With the festive season in full swing, they got cracking and the result is wonderful. Residents can now gather around the cosy fireplace. It’s not quite possible to roast chestnuts but the warm glow of the fire is undeniable. 

The period of change will all be worth it. In the new year, everyone in Middleton Court will be able to enjoy a lovely new lounge and dining area. Middleton Hall will benefit from a new expanded kitchen facility that will fully support the ever expanding catering service.


Jeremy’s Blog – Keep Calm but Let’s not just Carry On


The current affairs discussion group seems to be growing in popularity – we regularly have slightly more residents than can comfortably sit round a table these days. It remains broadly unpredictable however.

I can rarely guess the topics that the group will choose to discuss each week. I normally select four or five potential topics from my favourite newspaper (BBC website) and the group choose one or two that they fancy having some intelligent debate about. Some topics are humorous. Some serious. Some seem both (Step forward Mr Trump. Ah. That’s no longer a joke).

We recently took on the serious and relevant crisis in care to talk about.

Nursing homes are closing every week and providers have started to pull out of home care contracts. These now include not for profit providers. When the not for profit sector cannot make care stack up, the government should pay attention. Middleton Hall and the top quality providers are generally not reliant on publicly funded clients, so are very fortunate.

I am not going to blame local councils. The simple fact is that they do not have enough money and with the advent of the so called National Living Wage increasing costs it is no surprise that 15 minute care visits at homes still exist and care providers are struggling.

Of course, all this has an impact on the other rather large elephant in the room. The NHS. More elderly people ending up in hospital sometimes becoming “bed blockers”. Lack of social care resulting in more hospital admissions.

When the NHS was created in 1948 (along with the origins of modern social care), hospitals put a few limbs in plaster and whipped out the odd appendix. Life expectancy was 66 for men and 71 for women. Medical care has got a great deal more complicated now and consequently a great deal more expensive. In 1948, the budget for drugs was £30M. It is now over £15B.

We live in a different world now. Once we reach 65 we now have almost 20 years to live. Which means potentially 20 years not working or paying tax but increasingly using public services.

Surely it is time to accept that we cannot sustain this. Which means many of us in the future will have to pay – for healthcare as well as social care. And yet, no political party is prepared to break for cover and admit that is what is needed.

One member of the discussion group is a retired doctor. Even when she was still working, it was clear to her that a free for all NHS was no longer possible. The rest of the group all agreed that people would have to pay. But why do our political leaders refuse to raise the possibility?

“It is not really voter friendly” concluded the group. And they were honest enough to admit they would be reluctant to vote for a party that proposed charging for the NHS. A slight element of turkeys voting for Christmas perhaps.

But surely it is time to be realistic. The current system is clearly unsustainable. So how about some political honesty in at least talking about the reality – and the long term solutions?

The Care Act was never going to solve the problem, but of course was a vote winner for retired people believing they would not lose their savings paying for care and for their families thinking their inheritance was safe. The current generation of baby boomers is wealthier than the previous generation, largely due to unprecedented house price inflation and threatens to live even longer. So it is hardly unreasonable that we should have to pay for increasingly expensive healthcare and social care.

So, let’s be calm about the current care crisis but not just carry on.