February 2017 NEWSLETTER


Welcome to your long overdue newsletter.  Happy New Year to all, trusting you had a good Christmas. Let’s hope the winter weather is now nearly past and we can look forward to the approach of spring with new growth and colourful flower

DTM will be holding our Annual Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday 25th April at Bondgate Methodist Church starting at 6.30pm.  This will be followed by a short AGM and tea/coffee and biscuits will be served at the end.  Please come and join us to give thanks for the work  of DTM and share in fellowship, all are welcome.


Darlington Memorial Hospital has opened a new Chapel and DTM Vice Chair, Brian Simpson and DTM Missioner Kirsten Bertram attended the opening on our behalf.  The plaque from the old Chapel has been put into the new Chapel and DTM are mentioned on it.                                                                                       


Vi Johnson one of DTM’s Friends is seen here celebrating her 100th birthday. Vi still comes out on the DTM outings.  We wish Vi well in her 101st year and look forward to celebrating her next birthday.


Message from the Chairman 

As I write this in early February I have fresh in my mind an interesting afternoon spent in the company of over forty charities operating in Darlington and around.  All together we filled Central Hall in the Dolphin Centre with multiple table displays and banners, and crowds of people.  It was quite a spectacle!

Darlington Borough Council aimed to gather as big a representation of volunteering in Darlington that they could muster. They then invited the public to come and engage by viewing all the exhibits and finding out what they might want to know from any of the charities there.  Walking round the tables, when I was released from my duty on the Town Mission stand, I was bemused at the variety – a number of well-known charities, but also new ones which have more recently been formed, like supporting activities in The Denes, or DAR (Darlington Action for Refugees).  The volunteers themselves were able to meet up with others like-minded who shared the same interests.  And we met interested members of the public wanting to gain a general picture of what is going on in the town.

There’s no doubt that work done by volunteers in Britain, let alone Darlington, is one of the most positive and life-giving blessings we enjoy.  I have reflected on this, especially since retiring some 12 years ago from my paid employment.  When you retire you are unharnessed from the job which controlled your hours and activities.  Retiring releases you to see your time as yours to use in other ways.  You soon realise that the most dispiriting thing in your life is to do nothing!  Your spirit looks for gainful activity (but not for money!) something you can embrace freely, happily and enthusiastically; because in the giving you actually receive within yourself more than you give out.

So, bearing in mind the number one activity must be running your home/family, in addition to home, there is wide-open opportunity to get involved in building a better life for others.  And this is where charities in Britain play such a vital part.  Charities rely on volunteers!

Charities in Britain have been permitted by successive governments to work in communities, fulfilling their aims in line with the regulatory control of the Charity Commission.  Charities are offered financial incentive for their work by raising funds from the general public under licence – funds which are tax free.  In addition, and increasingly, charities are being assisted by businesses and companies, which themselves desire to use their profits (otherwise going to the tax man) to support chosen charities.  Darlington Town Mission has benefitted these last years from these arrangements.  All this adds up to our having the finances to improve the service we offer to our Friends by enabling our Missioner to succeed in her work, and our volunteers better to benefit giving their time and gifts to the Mission’s single end, that is to help tackle loneliness in Darlington’s elderly:
    To reduce isolation and provide companionship where it is sought.

 I know I am not alone in thanking God for the freedom and opportunities in our country all this represents.  I also pray that, as the Town Mission, we continue to fulfil and enrich our commitment – in practice by attracting more volunteers to come on board, as drivers (for those with vehicles), and as visitors (in many cases the same person is able to offer both as driver and visitor).  Also we look for any volunteer sharing our vision and aims who is willing to give their time and experience to be a trustee on our executive board, or on our fund-raising committee.

To all our current volunteers we say a warm thank you.  Your contribution is much appreciated             .

Andrew Wigram

(Chair of Trustees)

Older People’s Social Care Assessments, Reviews and Waiting times


Local Healthwatch have heard concerns from a number of areas that older people are facing delays in their social care assessments, care packages and reviews, with expected standards not being met. 

Healthwatch England— the national consumer champion in health and social care—is gathering information about people’s experiences of social care assessments and reviews, as well as waiting times, from across the country. This will be used to establish whether it is a national issue, and how it can be addressed. Healthwatch Darlington have contacted Darlington Borough Council and they are in the process of gathering this information. 

If anyone would like to talk to us about social care assessments or have any experiences to share with us, you can do this by contacting— 

info@healthwatchdarlington.co.uk or by calling 01325 380145


Contact our Information and Signposting

Freephone  0808 801 0383 

Healthwatch Darlington provide a single point of contact to help people find information about health and social care services available and we also signpost to Independent Complaints Advocacy (ICA).

Access Points

We will be at the following locations providing information and signposting to Health and Social Care Services.  We will shortly be looking at changing the location of our Access Points.  If you would like an Access Point in your area, please get in touch.

Please note: Additional Access Points will now be available at different locations across Darlington changing on a monthly basis:

Venues :

  • Crown Street Library, Darlington - 1st Friday of every month 9:30am-11:30am 
  • Cafe JJ Clifton Community Centre, Clifton Road - 4th Tuesday of the month 11.15am-2.00pm

***********************************************************************************************From your Missioner

As we begin another year, January seems not to be as cold as in previous years, with no snow and just a few icy mornings. Hopefully as we go into February, we can still enjoy fairly mild weather for the time of year. Very soon, spring will be here and with it, the joy of Easter. 

I have been busy putting together the programme for this year and I hope it will not disappoint.  Since this is my first year as Missioner, I have looked back at previous years to get some ideas of where you have been, and what you have enjoyed, as well as adding a new venue to our programme.  As a self funded charity that provides its services free I think you will agree that the outings available each year are very good and give us all a chance to meet together.  I have been encouraged by the good comments and support I have received so far about our outings from both Friends and Volunteers.  The priority of our outings is not where we go but to provide social opportunities.  Also we need to remember that we are only able to provide this service because of the continuing support we receive from those who provide events for us each year and those who help us financially with donations 

 Since the last newsletter we went to Mainsgill Farm Shop on the A66, near Richmond.  In September and again the sun shone and we had a very pleasant afternoon, some of us even had a look at the Llamas!  We finished off with tea and cake in the cafe.  In October we were entertained by our volunteers who sang with the Friends at Park Place Community Centre and we enjoyed an afternoon tea. 


 November saw us visiting Stockton Garden Centre and  being mesmerized by the Christmas display.  In December we were again invited to Polam Hall School for their Jack Frost Party and by Queen Elizabeth Sixth form College for their Christmas Activities and lunch.

We also had a lovely Carol Service at Haughton Methodist Church where our chairman Rev Andrew Wigram took the Service.  This was followed by a wonderful tea.  The size  of the church was perfect for our number of Friends who attended.

We have continued throughout the year to visit those who are unable to join us on our outings and provide companionship.  We are also continuing to provide an Act of Worship once a month in two of our local Care Homes where the residents can look forward to singing some hymns, having some prayers and hearing readings from the Bible.

Kirsten Bertram


Fundraising News

The fund raising committee has again been working very hard, and continue to raise the much needed funds to keep DTM going.  Thank you to the volunteers who have been helping at the events.  If any one would like to join the Fund raising team and/or help out at events or know someone who is interested please contact Anne or Brian Tyreman telephone 01325 710229.  The more volunteers we have the more we can do. 

Funds raised since the last newsletter:

Street collection               £ 257                                                                                               

Carol singing                   £ 181

Glam Party                      £2033

Songs from the shows    £ 763 

Mary Drury Beetle Drive  £ 359

Flower demonstration     £ 209

Quiz                                £ 478

 We now have collection boxes in local shops and businesses which is adding to our fundraising efforts, and we are grateful to all those who have agreed to have a box, mentioning especially Newbus Grange Hospital who make a special effort at Christmas to fill the box.  There are still spare boxes, so if you know of any shops, offices, businesses that would be willing to have a box please contact either Anne or Brian on 01325 710229.


Give as you Live is a shopping and price comparison website where you can shop for products from thousands of leading online retailers.  This means that retailers pay Give as you live commission each time a sale is generated through the site and they pass 50% on to a charity of your choice and you can nominate Darlington Town Mission. 

Why not try:  https://www.giveasyoulive.com/



Future Fundraising Events

Tombola- date and venue to be advised - please check our website.

Come and Sing - Saturday 25th March 2017 at Northland Methodist Church 10am to 12pm followed by refreshments, but you can just join in for a short period.

Annual Coffee Morning - Saturday 8th April 2017 at Elm Ridge Methodist Church 10am - 12pm 

Details of all our events are on the DTM website www.darlingtontownmission.org.uk and you can also follow us on Facebook.  If you are a member on Facebook we would appreciate it if you would like our page and invite your friends to like us too, if you haven't already done so.


Nuisance Calls - DTM were able to obtain funding to purchase a small number of BT Call blocker phones so availability is limited.  There are 2 hand sets but there is not a large button version, DTM are able to provide these free on a long term loan basis.  To use the phones you will need the Caller Identity Service which is supplied by your telephone line provider free if your supplier is Talk Talk, Sky, Post Office Home Phone or BT, however some companies charge a small monthly fee of approx. £2.00 to £3.00.  If you are interested in having one of these phones installed please contact Kirsten on 07943251357 for further information.


Telephone Scam Warning - Can I remind you to be very vigilant when asked for personal details from someone you don't know or from a company or organisation .Be extremely wary of post, phone calls or emails offering you deals out of the blue. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials. People in Darlington have recently been targeted by bogus calls and given information on which has led to money being taken from their accounts. Always check with family, friends or someone you trust before giving information or agreeing to anything at the door or over the phone.


Alzheimers and Dementia Care- There is a company called Home Instead which has launched a dementia hub in Darlington.  Information and leaflets are available at Darlington Crown Street library.  They also have a website www. homeinstead.co.uk where there is information and online resources for training and family workshops.


Elderly Care - Which magazine - have a website www.which.co.uk which offers free, independent and practical advice about caring for older people across the UK.


Wheelchairs/Walkers - DTM have recently had a wheelchair donated by D.A.D which means we now have four wheelchairs and we also have a couple of walkers.  It may therefore be possible to let DTM Friends borrow a wheelchair or walker on short loan. If you would like more information please contact Kirsten mobile number 07943251357.


Fun quiz

1 Why is the longest human nose on record only eleven inches long?

2 You answer me although I never ask you questions, what am I?

3 What goes up and down without moving?

4 What grows up while growing down?

5 You can’t keep this till you have given it?

6 Take off my skin I won’t cry but you will, what am ?I

7 What has no beginning, end or middle?

8 What grows when it eats but dies when it drinks?

9 What goes up a chimney down but not up a chimney up?

Answers below





















Answers to quiz

 1    Because if it was twelve inches it would be a foot!!!!!

 2    A telephone

 3    Stairs

 4    A goose

 5    A promise

 6    An onion

 7    A doughnut

 8    A fire

 9    An umbrella