The Darlington Town Mission

C/o Evolution, Church Row, Darlington DL1 5QD  

(Founded in 1838, Registered Charity No 235572)


Report and Accounts

Year ended 31st December 2010


            Registered Charity No 235572



Our purpose

To provide for the elderly:
A visiting/ befriending service
Opportunities for Social Contact
Acts of Worship

Our Vision

Is to prevent and provide relief from isolation in the elderly through our contact and support     

Our beliefs

That every person is entitled to a good quality of life
Communities encourage fellowship, social support and combat social isolation
Every person is valued and should be given the opportunities to socialise.


Last year dtm


  • Made 627 visits to Friends in hospital and in their own homes relieving isolation, providing support and encouragement and helping them with practical tasks. We helped them with:
    • Support and transport to Hospital and GP appointments

o  Shopping both food & Clothes

o  Collecting prescriptions

o  Support & assistance with the completion of forms

o  Support when assessments are being made

o  Collecting information and viewing residential establishments


  • Took 273 people on monthly group outings


  • Recruited 2 new volunteers
  • Increased numbers attending our fortnightly Friends Forum which provides activities and social contact. Many new friendships have been forged and mutual support given.
  • Took Friends on individual trips out
  • Increased numbers attending our services in two care homes
  • Took Friends to a monthly Communion service


What we do.


TheDarlington Town Mission was founded in 1838by three local businessmen, John Backhouse and John Pease, Quakers and John Hopkins, an Anglican. Its aims are as follows:


  To relieve poverty, sickness, hardship and distress of those in need in the Borough of Darlington through the provision of practical and material assistance, advice, information and support and by any other charitable means that the Trustees in their discretion think fit, in order to improve the said beneficiaries’ quality of life.


  To advance the Christian faith particularly but not exclusively by holding services of worship where appropriate.

These aims are achieved in the following ways:

  The Mission employs a full time Missioner, who works with a number of volunteers to:

      Visit people in their homes and in hospital to offer practical and material     assistance, advice, information and pastoral support.

            Arrange day trips out and other social events

Through exemplifying Christian love and service in the work we do, as well as holding acts of Christian worship.

Our main activities and who we help are described below. All our charitable activities focus on improving quality of life and are undertaken to further our charitable purpose for the public benefit.

Over half of all people aged over 75 live alone; nearly half of older people consider the television as their main form of company. 12% feel trapped in their own home and 11% have less than monthly contact with family friends and neighbours. These statistics reflect the need for our services. With family living at a distance, their circle of friends reducing, physical and mental health difficulties increasing, the quality of life for older people can be seriously impaired. Human companionship is well recognised as essential to a person’s mental and physical health and their general well-being. Therefore the Mission is concentrating its limited resources on improving the quality of life of elderly people within Darlington. These currently make up 20% of the population of the town and this percentage will continue to increase.

The Mission’s services provide a vital lifeline of companionship, Christian fellowship and practical help to many elderly people in Darlington. We offer a regular visiting service and the chance to join with others in social and other events.


Chairman’s Report 2010

A year seems to slip by all too quickly. As I sat down to write this year’s report I paused for a moment to reflect on the nature and work of DTM very soon it will be our 175th anniversary how different the world was 175 years ago, how different was life here in Darlington. How different were the living conditions for the people of Darlington how much more acute the level of poverty which spurred our founders into bringing DTM to birth. 

As the years have passed other organisations have come into being to meet people’s needs notably the National Health Service and Social Security and so one might ask why DTM in today’s society. In many ways what has happened to the nature of our work is reflected in what took place in the life of the church in England, in its monastic days the church supplied education, learning, help for the sick and the impoverished; other agencies came into being and the nature of the place of the church in society also changed to meet the new circumstances.  

DTM has seen two important changes this year our Missioner Anne Jones retired after three years of outstanding and devoted service and we were pleased to appoint Sandra Curran. Sandra has brought her own personality and style to the job and has continued the work with our friends while also bringing some new friends to DTM.

We have also appointed to the Board of Trustees Brian Tyreman who has taken on the role of Fundraising Trustee and this year we have seen many well coordinated initiatives in our ongoing fundraising drive. The work of all our volunteers is paramount to our success and I cannot stress my thanks enough to each and every one of you.

With today’s uncertain financial climate impacting on all charities we must continue to be vigilant in our in our determination to keep the standard of DTM flying, not only flying but recognised and valued in Darlington. We have seen in the last year a tragedy of monumental proportions with the closure of Tom Raine Court – and following on the near collapse of the 700 Club this has left vulnerable people exposed in Darlington to a lack of care that can only be imagined.

In today’s society it is fondly imagined that the ‘state’ now takes care of everything this is a dangerous misnomer, as a former parish priest I have seen many fall through the net of care and provision when all was needed was the hand of friendship the hand of comfort.

Even when there is a loving family present a person often needs someone to talk to outside that circle – we offer practical help, recreation and friendship long may we continue with the principles our founders laid down for us. The needs maybe different; but the needs are still there.  



Review of the last year

This year has been another successful year in continuing our work of relieving isolation in older people. It has been a year of consolidation, last years two new initiatives, our Friends Forum and transport to a communion service have been welcomed by the Friends attending.

Our missioner and volunteers continued to provide a vital lifeline of companionship, Christian fellowship and practical help to many older people in Darlington by visiting them in their own homes and also those in Care homes many who do not have any other visitors.

Our monthly outing programme has been maintained and included old favourites such as the Polam Hall School sunshine party and Bondgate drive and tea as well as some new destinations such as the nature reserve at Saltholme and Hardwick Hall.

Friends Forum

The Friends Forum takes place fortnightly at Park Place Community Centre, which is a lovely venue, warm and welcoming.

Volunteer drivers collect and take the Friends home after the session.  The Friends are very grateful for this.

Friends regularly meet from 11 am to 1 pm on a Wednesday. The Session begins with tea or coffee and chocolate biscuits, and the Friends chat together.  Often there is a quiz or word game, to help keep our minds active. 

At one recent session the Friends brought their wedding photos, and photos of themselves as children to share.  They had a lovely time looking at the photos, and discussing how times have changed. During another session they taught Sandra, our Missioner how to play ‘Beetle’.

Lunch is served at about 12. We sometimes have jacket potatoes and fruit crumble, which always go down really well.  We have tea and coffee as well. There is a small charge for lunch.

Friends’ comments:

“It is nice to be able to eat with someone else, instead of on your own all the time.”

“We really appreciate the drivers and volunteers who are always helpful and friendly.  We couldn’t come if it wasn’t for them.”

“It is lovely to have company, to be able to see and chat to people.”

“We have become friends.”

“Gets us out of the house and we miss it when we don’t come.”

“Friends Forum is something to look forward to.”

“We have a nice lunch and a good gossip with friends.”

“The room is lovely, warm and comfortable.”


A volunteer’s perspective.

Having spent the main part of my working life from 1959 as a hospital based nurse and latterly with community care I am now retired and wanted to play some little part in the work of the Darlington Town Mission.

Especially during my community care work did I realise how isolated the elderly can be with only a paid carer visiting. So many younger family members live many miles from the home of their parents.

The Darlington Town Mission helps fill this need with volunteer visits, outings and services.

From 2006 I have visited the elderly Friends of the Mission and acted as Driver, collecting in wheelchair if necessary and taking to various outings and helping in any way I can with the work of the Mission, I even helped with stalls for the fund raising of the mission in the summer. I enjoy meeting and chatting with our Friends they have so much interesting knowledge to pass to me.

As a driver I take our Friends for the outings as organised during the year by our Missioner with visits to Garden Centres, Tours of the countryside followed by tea, Carol Service near Christmas, Tea Dance in the Market Square, to mention just a few. These outings may be the only time our elderly Friends actually get out and are without exception appreciated and greatly enjoyed, but especially they do enjoy the chance to meet and talk with other folk of the same age.

All the elderly I have visited have enjoyed having someone just calling for a chat and in some cases provide help with any problems or make a cup of tea or take them out for a drive around our town.



A Friend’s Perspective.

“The Town Mission has been wonderful for me. It has allowed me to meet people I wouldn’t normally meet. They get me out of the house, which is very important when you live on your own and into company. It is lovely to be able to talk to other people; the outings get me out and about which become more difficult as you get older. I have nothing but praise for the Town Mission.”


Thus we have been able to improve our Friends quality of life by combating loneliness and isolation, rebuilding social contact, providing physical exercise and giving practical assistance.

Volunteering with the Mission

We could not provide the service we do without the input of our volunteers. They provide invaluable assistance across the board from visiting our Friends, to driving and accompanying them on outings, and also in participating in our monthly Services in care homes. We are so grateful to them for the time and effort they put in and we do our best to make sure their involvement is both fulfilling and rewarding.

There are a variety of ways you can get involved and help the work of the Mission.

Why not consider:

Becoming a volunteer visitor or driver

Making a donation

Remembering the Mission in your will

Getting involved with fundraising.

Whatever you decide you really can help to make a difference and be part of it.

To discuss getting involved simply call 01325 467052.

Relationships with other organisations.

The Missioner has been engaging with other groups working with older people, exchanging ideas and practices.

The Mission would like to thank the following organisations:

The Sugar Craft Guild of Darlington for the decorated Christmas cakes they donate to the Mission. These beautifully decorated cakes are much appreciated by our Friends.

Cockerton Methodist Church for the Christmas goods donated.


The Lions for donating plants at Christmas.

Park Place Community Centre for accommodating the Friends’ Forum.

St. Matthew’s Church and the Choir from All Saints Hurworth, for their input into our Annual Service.

The Society of Friends for hosting our meetings.

Churches of various denominations for the continuing support they give to the work of the Mission.

All the other organisations and individuals who support the Mission financially.