Registered Charity No 235572  


Contents                                                                  Page 

Section 1

Key Achievements                                                     3  

What we do                                                                3

Chairman’s message                                                 5

Missioner’s review of the year                                   6

Friends’ reflections                                                    7

Volunteer perspective                                                8

How you could support us                                         9 

Relationships with other organisations                    10


Our Vision  

Is to reduce isolation and provide companionship


Our beliefs  

That every person is entitled to a good quality of life through fellowship and social support which combats isolation

To achieve this we:

Carry our home visits    

Provide companionship to our Friends individually or through group social events  

Provide Acts of Worship  


Key achievements

Last year the Mission: 

  • Made 811 visits to Friends relieving isolation, providing support and encouragement and helping them with practical tasks
  • Took 320 Friends on monthly group outings
  • Helped our Friends with support and transport to Hospital, Dentist, Chiropodists, Funerals and shopping. Have also made telephone calls for one Friend who is profoundly deaf to arrange appointments and arrange for workmen to come, taken a walker to be repaired, lent out mobility equipment, and helped a Friend when they had a water leak.
  • Installed call blocking phones for some Friends
  • Continued our very successful fortnightly Friends Forum which provides lunch, activities and social interaction
  • Took Friends on small group outings, to meet with their friends, or out for lunch/ coffee
  • Continued our monthly services in two care homes. The residents enjoy hymn singing, prayers and reflections. Took Friends to services at Northlands Methodist Church and to their lunch club
  •   Recruited 3 new volunteers 



    What we do.


The Darlington Town Mission was founded in 1838 by 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, 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 Missioner who works with a number of volunteers to:   

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


  • Arrange 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. 


We are now focusing our activities on relieving loneliness and isolation in the elderly in Darlington.


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. 


What is loneliness and social isolation?

Loneliness is a subjective, negative feeling experienced where there is a discrepancy between the amount and quality of social contacts one has, and the amount and quality one would like to have. It is related to but distinct from social isolation which is an objective state, the absence of social contacts and social connectedness. 

What are the intrinsic factors?

Lack of transport, not living near families, bereavement, becoming a carer, experiencing poor health or poor mobility, loss of sight or hearing, being childless, living on a low income are all factors which can cause a person to become lonely.

  • There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK (Age UK 2016 report)
  • Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all. (Age UK 2016 report)
  • Two fifths of older people  say the television is their main company (Age UK report 2014)
  • Over half of all people aged 75 and over live alone ( Office for National Statistics)
  • There are 2.2 million people aged 75 and over living alone in Great Britain, an increase of almost a quarter over the past 20 years (ONS) 
  • Compared to non-lonely people, people who experience chronic loneliness have an increased risk of developing dementia by 64% (source Campaign to end loneliness/University of Kent)
  • Social relationships were ranked by most people as the key dimension of quality of life (Bowling, A. (2011) Good neighbours. Measuring Quality of Life in Older Age).

The Mission’s services provide a vital lifeline of companionship, Christian fellowship and practical help to many elderly people in Darlington.  They help to relieve loneliness by visiting people in their own homes and in care homes. They relieve isolation and loneliness by giving older people the chance to join with others in outings, social and other events and at our Friends Forum which provides lunch and activities. We also provide a spiritual dimension in providing access to Christian fellowship and ecumenical worship. For those Friends who are Christian we aim to nurture them in their faith and for those of other faiths or none to support them equally in our caring. 

Chairman’s Message

2017 has been an encouraging year, one we can look back on with grateful thanks.  Underlying all is a feeling of security that we are a team of committed, devoted and hard-working supporters: and we see the fruits of what we set out to do to be altogether positive.



2017 began with Kirsten Bertram as Missioner having been appointed in June 2016.  She had become well established in the job, and quickly gained the confidence and friendship of both Friends, office bearers and volunteers.  Along with her caring responsibilities she brought new thinking to consider how there might be ways to improve (even expand) what we can offer as services for Friends.  She made useful connections with a valuable range of people she knows who have come on board as volunteers in one capacity or another.  We valued her presence along with all she did.

However, in March 2017 Kirsten decided for personal family related reasons not to continue in her Missioner role, despite all that has been so positive.  She handed in her resignation; however, at the same time she promised that she would continue to support the Town Mission as volunteer.  The months following have shown that she meant what she said.  

Meanwhile the Trustees had to find a replacement.   Arising from this we were approached by a candidate with credentials that could not be bettered; except that the applicant would not be free to take up the post for nine months!  Notwithstanding the committee felt it right to conduct interviews; and were unanimous in commending the appointment; but only on condition that a solution could be found to provide for a Missioner to cover the intervening nine months.  To our relief and delight Sue Case (Missioner up to May 2016 offered to take over as part-time Missioner until the end of January 2018!  It was with huge gratitude we accepted Sue’s offer; and were able to announce Sue Allison’s appointment as full-time Missioner from February 2018! We thank God for all this blessing!

Sue Allison, as was publicised in the press, is no stranger to the Town Mission, being the daughter of Derrek Hewitson.  Derrick served as Missioner for 30 years; then as volunteer: he was popular as organ/piano player for the Mission’s regular acts of worship.  Sue steps out of her NHS psychiatric nurse career to take on more caring, different but with similarities, and certainly she is commendably experienced for befriending Friends.  She brings energy and enthusiasm to her new job; yet for her the Town Mission is an old companion of many years!


Town Mission profile
2017 has been a year when we have aimed at raising our profile within the Darlington community.  This has taken a number of forms.  For instance, we were ‘adopted’ by the Co-op as a local charity of choice; this meant that for customers who selected our charity, every purchase they made benefitted our cause!  In addition we have received a grant we applied for to enhance visits Friends make through the year; in particular visits planned to the Hippodrome, now newly re-ordered.  

As Town Mission we enrolled to run a stall at the Darlington Volunteer Fair which was held in the Dolphin Centre concert hall.  Alongside countless other charities we were able to promote the mission, hand out leaflets, talk with interested enquirers and mingle with volunteers whose service in the community has links with our own.  It was good to see the Town Mission banner make a strong statement across the hall and drew interest.


Fund raising
Once more we had a successful year. All Fundraising events rewarding the hard work put into them.  The Fund Raising committee deserves our warm thanks and congratulations.  In number the committee is small; in effectiveness it is large!

The November Glam Party organized by Julia Bean, once again, proved very popular – much enjoyed by a growing number of enthusiasts.  We are so grateful for this fund-raising arm that reaches where others don’t!  It is truly encouraging!


Final thanks
My Review of 2017 can’t end without a mention again of the prime movers who enable us to function, as a charity and at the same time to fulfil the mission of our forerunners – different as our world in 2017 is from 1838.  I refer to our office bearers, and alongside them all our volunteers: drivers, visitors, fund-raisers and others who have their part to play.  To you all, a big thank you!
And to God – a big thank you!


Andrew Wigram 


Missioner’s review of the year 2017

The year we were again able to provide a monthly outing for all those mobile enough to join us and were blessed with good weather. We are fortunate to be invited each year to events provided by Polam Hall School, Rotary Club, and Queen Elizabeth 6th Form College and our Friends never tire of going as we are always well entertained and well fed. 

A new venue for us was a visit to St Andrews Church at Grinton , it was a lovely drive through Swaledale , we had a good look round the Church and Church members put on a wonderful afternoon tea.    



We visited a couple of garden centres and some of the Friends bought gifts and plants which I’m sure will remind them of their afternoons out. We are never too old to make memories and never too old to make new friends and by bringing our Friends together on outings it enables instances which they wouldn’t normally do.                     

 We continue to offer fellowship and companionship to those not able to join us on our outings, the response we get from those we visit shows how valuable organisations like DTM are. Sadly some are not able to remember who has visited from one week to the next which makes it more important that they are visited on a regular basis.

As a faith based charity it is one of our aims to enable our Friends to attend some form of worship so we are fortunate to have three willing volunteers to take DTM’s monthly Services in North Park Care Home and Elderwood Care Home. We have also again this year taken Friends to Northlands Church where they have lunch fortnightly and a service once a month and All Saints Church monthly lunch club.

Friends Forum, our small group which meets once a fortnight, has proved very successful .When Anne Tyreman started Friends Forum it was with the hope that the Friends would eventually become friends and continue to contact each other at other times. I’m pleased to say that this has now come to fruition and four of our Friends who attend Friends Forum now meet up at each other’s houses on a regular basis. Also one of our Friends Forum members is now housebound so we arrange to visit her as a group on a regular basis and this means she can still be part of our group. 


Friends attending have said;

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


“We have made new friends and look forward to seeing them each fortnight to catch up with what they have been doing.”

  pastedGraphic_2.png                      pastedGraphic_3.png                      pastedGraphic_4.png                         

Finally I would like to give a huge thank you to our volunteers as without them we would not be able to have any of our events.

Sue Case

Friends’ reflections. 

“I joined the town mission around 7-8 years ago to support and accompany my friend June, who was advised outings and company would help her but she wanted me to accompany her. Prior to this I would say I was quite a loner, but the Town Mission changed my life and I would say it’s one of the best things to happen to me. I’ve met lots of people, visited places I otherwise wouldn’t have seen, and most of all I’ve made many friends. I am so thankful for the                                         Town Missioner and all who volunteer, help and support.” Doreen


“I shall always be grateful to the friend who introduced me to DTM, I had heard of it but at the time had no idea what the “Mission” was all about. I now have personal experience and although, due to health problems, I have been unable to attend many of the outings I have thoroughly enjoyed those I have, where I have reconnected with old friends and made many new ones. And then there are the visits. It is always a pleasure to welcome a friend for a cup of tea and a chat. As I have no family whatsoever, and seldom get out, I felt very isolated, so the 

visits are doubly welcome. In addition DTM, in the person of the then Missioner Sue Case, gave invaluable support to me when I was unexpectedly rushed into hospital. Quite honestly I don’t know how I could have managed without her. She even took care of the dog (a major worry) who became so spoilt I was afraid I would never get her back! Luckily I did and I have now met the new Missioner, Sue Allison, who at my request brought her dog along to meet mine, so even the dog has a new friend! Thank you DTM” Rita

“What do I think of DTM?  In a word "Fantastic "What do I think of the work it achieves? "Wonderful" What do I think of the Missioners and volunteers? Dedicated. DTM has been in existence since 1838. I wish it every success for the future, it is a great organization which I pray will go on for many more years to come.”  Marion


“It is easy when you are on your own to stay in and not go out but the Mission taking me out gives me the motivation to go out and mix with others. I really appreciate all the Mission does for me. They make such a difference to my life.” Pat  

 “I wanted to express my sincere thanks for all the pleasure my mother received by way of home visits, Friends’ Forum lunches and various outings. These interactions helped to sustain my mother’s enjoyment of life at a time when opportunities for social involvement can be rather rare”. Relative of a Friend 

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.  

Volunteer Perspective

I am trying to recall when I first heard about the Darlington Town Mission (DTM) and it was probably when I was told about a fundraising event, which members of my Church, All Saints’ and Salutation, were invited to support, about three years ago.

Since then, the DTM has crossed my radar on several occasions in the guise of Brian Holmes, Brian Simpson, Kirsten Bertram and more recently Sue Case (who was evidently at the same school as myself, but several years below me, as she hastens to add!)

Kirsten knows that I am retired and as is the common assumption about retirees, people seem to think we have masses of spare time on our hands.  I was given a programme of events for the DTM and was asked if I might give someone a lift to the lunch to be held at Northlands church.  This seemed quite straightforward, so I duly accepted and little did I know what a treat I was letting myself in for!

My first ‘passenger’, in March 2017, was Margaret and it was such a lovely initiation into being associated with the DTM, that I could not have had a better start.  We chatted freely on the way to Northlands and it was such a pleasure to hear all about Margaret’s life.  The meal, which I enjoyed at Northlands that day was absolutely sumptuous….no tea for me that day!

Since then I have driven people to the lunch club on several occasions and latterly I have had various trips out of which one was a mystery tour and another to Redcar.  My ‘passengers’ on both occasions were the lovely Doris and Kath and they are such interesting people….we are never stuck for anything to chat about!  The mystery tour was a route of my choosing and it became a mystery to me too, as part of the road was closed for repairs and we were sent off course, so I just pottered around some country lanes until we found our bearings.  The loveliest surprise of the trip was when I mentioned that we were going through Barton and Kath immediately said that she had worked on the buses which took that route, and she proceeded to tell me exactly where we were at each turn!

The outing to Redcar in August was a lovely day out, with a delicious meal at the Mermaid, followed by ice cream on the front near Redcar.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time with DTM and am looking forward to the next outing.


Sue Elliott-Lyall



  1. Volunteering opportunities  

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.  

If you would you like to join Susan, as part of our pool of volunteer drivers who take our Friends on monthly outings organised by our Missioner or if you would like to relieve the loneliness of elderly people like Doreen, Rita, Marion or Pat by spending a couple of hours a week visiting, please call our Missioner on 07943251357 or ‘e’ mail  for further information. With your help we could enrich many more elderly people’s lives.  


b) Financial support.  

To continue and expand our services we rely on the generosity of individuals, churches and groups .If you wish to donate you can do so on line at darlingtontownmission or send a cheque to our address or ‘e’ mail us at for details of other means of giving. 

You can also raise funds for us just by shopping online, go to and 

  1. Sign up choosing Darlington Town Mission as your chosen charity
  2. Choose from over 4,200 stores to shop with
  3. Click through to the store from  their site & shop as usual 
  4. They donate a % of your spending to us - for free!

If you interested in helping with our fundraising you can join our fundraising team, please contact us for more details or if you wish to do a sponsored fundraising event for us you can open a fundraising page on our local giving website. 







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 and individuals:  

Bondgate Methodist Church for hosting a wonderful afternoon tea and service, our Annual Service and AGM.     

Churches of various denominations for the support they give to the work of the Mission and individuals who have supported us financially.  

Clifton Court Surgery for raising funds all year by making second hand books available to buy in their waiting room

pastedGraphic_5.png Cheque being presented

Close Thornton Solicitors for having a fundraising event for us.

pastedGraphic_6.pngCheque being presented.

Also Barclaycard, Capita, Darlington Building Society, and Ziro for their fundraising efforts.

Harrowgate Hill Methodist Church who hosted a January cheer up party which provided a chance for our Friends to catch up with each other after Christmas.  

Haughton Methodist Church for hosting the Mission’s Carol Service and providing tea afterwards.

Northlands Methodist Church for the provision of their lunch club and services


Park Place Community Centre for accommodating the Friends’ Forum.  

Polam Hall School for hosting the 72nd Sunshine party and Jack Frost party. The Missions link with Polam Hall School is long standing and to our mutual benefit.  Twice a year the 6th form at the school are tasked with organizing and implementing entertainment, tea and a gift for the Mission’s Friends. We are told they are anxious and not a little nervous about each of these events but that it provides them with an excellent opportunity to plan and work as teams so that the party runs seamlessly. Such skills are extremely relevant in today’s society and the outcome fills each student with a real feeling of job well done. They talk endlessly about their guests and how much they enjoyed hosting them, you could say that each one feels a genuine satisfaction and a rosy glow, knowing that their efforts have been appreciated by their guests. Both the above events are very popular with and much appreciated by our Friends not only for the fun and entertainment they provide but also for the chance Friends have to talk to the Students when they sit down to tea together.  A real intergenerational event!  

Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College for inviting us to their Christmas event where our Friends played pass the parcel, and did a quiz. They were also entertained with songs and poems by a choir from Dunn Primary school. Our Friends had a wonderful lunch and went home with presents. 

Rotary Club of Darlington for their Annual Service on Palm Sunday, followed by afternoon tea provided by the Ladies of the Inner Wheel. 

 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. 



The Co-op locally for choosing us as one of their community charities and for donating food items for our events.

The Greggs Foundation for providing a Grant to cover the cost of group outings.

The Lions Club of Darlington for donating plants at Christmas. They cheer up our Friends winter months.  Also for inviting DTM Friends to their Christmas Party