Category Archives: News

Eco friendly living pays dividends for Waterside residents

After six years of living in one of Middleton Hall’s award-winning carbon neutral properties, Waterside residents David and June wouldn’t chose to live anywhere else.

The couple’s move in 2014 came at a time when they were considering downsizing from their 1930s detached property in Darlington.

June explained: “We were visiting Middleton Hall regularly to see David’s mother and I always said that I’d love to live somewhere like this when the time came for us to move.”

The couple put their names down for a property in a future phase of the Waterside development of eco-friendly homes but then decided to snap up one when it became available earlier than they expected.

The Waterside Bungalows (Image taken by David Gaskell of Middleton Hall Photography Group)

“We’d lived in our home for over 30 years by then, so rather than spend money on maintaining it we decided to move instead,” added David.

As only the second people to move into the development, the couple have subsequently become trailblazers for a greener way of living.

“The property is very efficient to run,” said David. “It is carbon neutral and our solar power tariff means that we make more on our energy costs than we are paying out.

“We were early adopters of solar power so we are on a good tariff which means that the energy we sell back into the grid more than covers our costs.”

A log burner keeps the triple-glazed property very cosy without the need for the heating to be switched on too often and the weather forecast has taken on a new significance for the couple.

“If it’s sunny we make the most of the electricity we’re generating” June said. “A sunny day in October meant that I got ahead with all my Christmas baking!”

The spaciousness of the couple’s dormer bungalow also suited the couple.

“We wanted a smaller property without losing bedrooms as we have regular visits from family who live in the Midlands,” David added.

As keen gardeners they have created a garden at the back of their property which looks out over a countryside scene of fields and trees and they also have one of the community allotments in Middleton Hall’s grounds.

Sunset at the Waterside (Image taken by David Gaskell)

The couple maintain a very active social life without having to stray too far from their home which includes table tennis, bowling, art appreciation, pottery classes, a photography group, singing with the choir and trips with the Middleton Hall walking group.

David and June playing a game of bowls

“There’s an amazing community here and we have some lovely friends around us at the Waterside,” reflected David. “Everybody is so helpful and supportive and everything is on the doorstep – it’s great.”

June smiled, adding: “We’re so glad we moved.”

Covid-19 Updated Information for Middleton Hall Residents and Families 24th March 2020

Coronavirus – Update for all residents and families (24th March 2020)

Government Measures

The government announcement about the countrywide lockdown last night has instructed everyone to stay at home under strict controls for the next three weeks.  (

During this period of “lockdown”, we will be following the government measures carefully and stopping all visits, unless in exceptional circumstances.  This will help reduce the possibility of anyone bringing the virus into Middleton Hall.  There is a local care home that now has two confirmed cases of Coronavirus, probably brought inadvertently by a visitor, so we will continue to be very careful to reduce any risks of potential infection.

Currently we believe that we are as well organised as we can be for the situation and although we have several Co-owners (staff) self-isolating as a precaution, we have no confirmed cases.  Our Co-owners are doing a great job in frankly very difficult circumstances and I am extremely grateful for their hard work and dedication.  Please feel free to let them know (by email or telephone) if you agree – feedback is a great morale boost!

There are a number of ways that we will try and make this easier (in addition to the measures that we have previously communicated over the last few weeks):

  • We have extended the range of items available from Middleton Hall’s shop
  • We have ordered 10 tablets, in addition to the iPads that we already have, to make video calling through Skype more accessible for residents and families – they are due to arrive this weekend, so should be set up ready by Monday in each service.  We suggest that video calling is the best way for families to remain in touch and will try and make it as easy as possible for residents
  • We have ordered some additional telephone handsets as we have found some of the telephones in rooms were missing

If you have any questions or ideas, please preferably email (as they are very busy) or telephone reception.  As a reminder the direct dial numbers for our Care Services are:

Middleton Grove 01325 331443

Middleton Gardens 01325 331441

Middleton Court 01325 331442

Middleton Oaks 01325 331445

Thank you for your support and encouragement in dealing with the pandemic.

Please keep yourself and your family safe at this incredibly difficult time.

Jeremy Walford

Running the Extra Mile…

Image result for great north run 2020
Image taken from the Great North Run website.

At Middleton Hall, we’re well aware that everyone who works here is incredible, but sometimes a Co-owner will go that little bit further, and we just have to talk about it.

Sarah Ratcliffe

Sarah Ratcliffe from Middleton Court has made the brave decision to run the Great North Run in September this year. She’s doing it to raise money for Brain Research UK, in memory of her Auntie.

“She always instilled in me to be kind to others, to have strength and to look to a hopeful future. This is her continued legacy.”

The Great North Run (for those who don’t know much about it) is a half marathon that stretches from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne to South Shields, and this is its 40th year. This is just over 13 miles (21km), which is an amazing goal to aim for, and a great thing to do for charity.

Please donate to Sarah’s JustGiving page – the link is below. Every pound counts, so forgo that bottle of wine and throw a few pounds in Sarah’s pot this week. There will also be a sponsorship sheet going up in the Co-owner’s break room. And don’t forget to wish her luck when September rolls around!


Important information for Middleton Hall residents and families

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update (7pm 12th March 2020).

Following recent communications, we are writing to let you know that we are accelerating Middleton Hall’s response to Coronavirus as part of our Contingency Plan.

Firstly, thank you to all the residents and families who have been positive and supportive of the difficult decisions that we are having to make at a time of a national crisis.

As the spread of the virus is continuing to escalate in the UK and there has been a case in Darlington, we are continuing to be proactive and focus on reducing risk for our community. We have a Co-owner who has been off sick since Wednesday with what appears to be conventional ‘flu, but have treated it as if it is Coronavirus both as a precaution and to test our systems and response to a situation if we do have someone in the community with Coronavirus.

As a result, we have decided to take some further precautions around communal facilities and to reduce cross community contacts for the next few weeks – in effect some “social distancing” that some governments have talked about.

  1. The Orangery will be closing at 6pm Thursday 12th March for two weeks.
  2. The Stables shop will also close, but we will be offering a delivery service for essential items in Middleton Grove, Middleton Woods and The Waterside
  3. The Restaurant will also be closed from this evening. Anyone who has a booking will of course receive a refund of their deposit. This will include bookings for Sunday lunch and unfortunately Mother’s Day. We will use the Vision Room as a dining room for Middleton Grove. We are looking into offering a “Deliveroo” style delivery service for hot meals for Middleton Woods and The Waterside and will let you know about that shortly.
  4. Middleton Spa will close immediately for Middleton Grove, Middleton Gardens, Middleton Court and Middleton Oaks residents again for an initial period of two weeks. We will keep the swimming pool and gym open for Independent Living residents for now, but with separate sessions for Middleton Woods and The Waterside. We may close the gym if the situation develops further or probably all of Middleton Spa. A revised timetable will be published tomorrow for Saturday onwards, allowing time for deep cleaning. There will not be hairdressing or therapies for the next two weeks.
  5. Members of the team from Middleton Spa will be allocated a particular care service to work in and will provide exercises and Living Well activities in those services so that residents have activities to choose from within their service.
  6. The library will be closed for the next few weeks. If Middleton Woods or Waterside residents wish to use the art studio, pavilion or bowling green we would ask them to email reception and we will look at arranging times for small groups.
  7. Middleton Grove, Middleton Gardens, Middleton Oaks and Middleton Court will maintain their existing teams working exclusively in that service and with dedicated housekeepers and nights to reduce contact between the services
  8. All activities that operate with multiple services (crafts, art, current affairs etc) will be suspended for the next few weeks
  9. We will continue some outings to areas that avoid shared public spaces for individual care services along with trips for essential hospital appointments. We are aiming to have a dedicated driver for each care service.
  10. Resident Volunteers in Independent Living (leaseholders) have offered to help with shopping and keeping an eye out for residents living on their own – we are very grateful to residents for offering to help.
  11. We are reviewing private cleans in Middleton Woods and The Waterside and will speak to residents individually about whether they wish to suspend those for a period of time. If we are hit by school closures or illness, we may need to withdraw the service in any case.
  12. Reception will remain open but primarily for telephone contact. We may increase the telephone cover from Monday as we are having high levels of phone calls.


We would continue to ask families and friends to avoid or reduce visits to residents for the next two weeks unless essential, especially if they have been in areas where there is increased risk of Coronavirus – major conurbations like London, and not to visit at all if they have returned from abroad within the previous 14 days. All the care services can help residents with Skype or Facetime on the iPads that we have in each service – if you call the relevant care service, they should be able to arrange a video call.

This is obviously a fast-moving situation and we will react as it develops. If there are school closures next week that will provide us with some further challenges so we will keep you updated.

As you are aware, we have been organising for the last four weeks for this situation, so we believe that we are as prepared as we can be.

The key advice remains vigilance about handwashing. Two useful sources of information are:

Thank you again to all the community for their support in dealing with an unprecedented and difficult situation. I can assure you that we will continue to try and keep the focus on reducing risk and acting pragmatically in taking a precautionary approach.

We will continue to keep everyone updated by email rather than post. As previously requested, please make sure that we have up to date email contact details for all family members or friends of residents who wish to be kept up to date. Email with name of resident, name of family contact and relationship to resident. These details will only be used for communication about our contingency plan.

If you have any queries, please email or call reception for further information.

Yours sincerely

Jeremy Walford

Managing Director

The benefits of taking up a hobby at retirement age

It isn’t uncommon at Middleton Hall for residents in their 70s, 80s, 90s and even 100s to take up a new hobby or learn something new. Our team encourage everyone to get involved in activities and use the facilities for significant benefits to physical and mental well-being.


Above: Residents using the bowls green

A Hobby Isn’t Just a Sport

Many think that a hobby is solely sports related, but hobbies can include activities such as walking or swimming; there are the arts too and music, not to mention cooking, gardening or playing board and card games.

It is never too late to learn a new skill.

Facilities at Middleton Hall

Throughout the last decade, the range of facilities that we have been able to offer have only extended and been very well received by our residents. Our 45 acre plot now has:

  • A Pavilion and Bowling green
  • 9-Hole Golf Course
  • Swimming Pool with Jacuzzi
  • Spa including Therapy Rooms
  • Hairdressers
  • The Orangery
  • The Restaurant
  • Art Studio
  • Library
  • Nature Trails
  • And much more…

What are the benefits?

Taking up a hobby during retirement is proven to make life more enjoyable:

  • Keeping active and engaged helps to sharpen the mind
  • If you decide to take up a hobby within a group of people, this keeps you socially connected with friends
  • Helps you learn new skills with other likeminded individuals who share your passion
  • Physical activity leads to better health in general, due to the chemicals released by the body
  • Hobbies help to relieves stress and reduce boredom

Pets and Retirement

During retirement, pet ownership often increases, which is sometimes seen as a hobby in itself. Looking after a pet is a positive responsibility, especially dogs. This type of hobby encourages people to get out, admire the outdoors, walk their pet and explore nature whilst being showered with unconditional love. Many of our residents take advantage of our beautiful grounds with their pets and attribute their good health benefits to this.

We understand the importance of this companionship to many residents and can therefore accommodate pets in some of our properties (subject to availability). We want you to live retirement life to the fullest, even if that means bringing along your furry friend too!

The Next Steps…

Perhaps you haven’t found your hobby yet, which is why at Middleton Hall we host a range of different weekly and monthly activities to be enjoyed by all and we guarantee there will be at least one you haven’t tried yet!

Here are just a few of many:

  • Bridge Club
  • Aqua Sessions
  • Knatty Knitting Club
  • Tai Chi
  • Photography Club
  • Table Tennis
  • Scrabble Club
  • Choir

Contact reception team today to find out more about the facilities and events we have going on:

01325 332207 or email

Guide to Downsizing

 Don’t panic!

Property downsizing can feel like a big step; first due to moving out of somewhere you might have lived for a long time, but not forgetting the stress of having to make everything you own fit in a smaller space! But this doesn’t mean it is a negative thing, and changing your attitude towards it is often a great help.

Having one too many empty rooms and struggling with household chores is often the first sign that downsizing should be an option. It can definitely be hard to move out of a home – especially ones that have had families grow up in them – but for many it is the sensible next step. The act of downsizing isn’t in itself a move “down”, if anything it’s a move “up” – to a neater, more compact space where you can start to explore your new stage of life.

Think about more than just the property…

It’s not just the physical property to consider, but its location, the local amenities, the community, security, and opportunities available.

  • Do family or friends live nearby?
  • Can you connect to the people in your community?
  • How easy is it to get to the nearest GP?
  • What’s the nearest supermarket?
  • Do you need somewhere to walk the dog?

Even if you’re only moving down the road, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and your needs, especially if they’re subject to change.

Stay open-minded

Often downsizing is a lovely time for families to help sort through possessions; it brings back memories and gives a chance to evaluate the significance of everything that’s been amassed over the years. Having this opportunity is invaluable and means everything you bring to your smaller property is important to you – exactly what you need around you in this new stage.

Resisting the call to downsize will not make it go away – and keeping an open mind when researching the sort of place that you’d like to move to is important. Retirement villages like ours are a diverse community of new friends, background support, and future prospects, and we would love to have you.


Unfortunately, due to the developments in the Covid-19 outbreak in the United Kingdom, Middleton Hall have decided to cancel the Open Day scheduled for the 12th of March.

This is a precaution we are taking in order to protect our residents from any unnecessary outside contact, in line with us entering ‘Phase 2’ of our contingency plan. We do not wish to alarm anyone, as we do not currently have any reason to believe anyone in Middleton Hall is testing positive for the virus, but we would rather be proactive in our approach. A lot of our residents have vulnerable immune systems, and any steps we can take to protect them will be seriously considered.

‘Phase 2’ also includes restricted access from outside visitors in general unless absolutely necessary, so please ring Reception on 01325 332207 if you plan on coming to Middleton Hall for any reason over the next couple of weeks to check on the current recommendations.

Thank you for your understanding and your patience.

Recruitment Fair on Friday 6th March

Recruitment Event

Friday 6th March 2020


The Vision Room, Middleton Hall Retirement Village

Please sign in at reception.

This is an opportunity to:

  • See who we are and what we do
  • Register your interest in working for an employee owned company

Get your tickets here

Call 01325 332207 or email for more information

Pottery Class Paying Off with Ceramic Tile Art

Mary Burgoyne, a resident of The Waterside, wanted to capture the image of her beloved springer spaniel- Archie. Friend and Neighbour, Les, was asked to work his magic on something innovative and long-lasting for her to display in the home and have Archie’s memory live on for many years to come.

Les Simpson, who has worked on many art projects in recent years at Middleton Hall, produced a ceramic tile, using a white bodied clay which was fired to 1250 degrees Celsius.  This meant that, if carefully looked after, the article would last for thousands of years, exactly how Mary wanted it.

The Level of detail in the tile is astonishing

Les Simpson, left, presenting Mary with her new tile of Archie

A class runs at Middleton Hall every Friday for residents who work with Les to create pottery and improve their skills. Another perk of being a Middleton Hall resident.

Enquire at reception or call 01325 332207.