Outstanding rated service to become UK’s first staff-owned retirement village

An Outstanding rated service in Darlington, County Durham is to become the UK’s first staff-owned retirement village or residential care facility.

Managing director Jeremy Walford said the plan was designed to preserve the ethos and values of Middleton Hall and ensure its 190 staff were respected as the company’s greatest asset and shared in its future success.

Jeremy said: “My motivation over the last 22 years has been driven by the desire to build a business that makes a difference to our customers and staff rather than purely for financial reward. I now feel a responsibility for ensuing Middleton Hall continues with the vision of being the best and maintains the values that make it the special place where our residents live and staff work for the long term.”

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Employee Jan Hargrove, Middleton Hall Retirement Village’s Marketing Coordinator, said that the Employee Ownership proposal was great news, adding: “It is a very genuine process and gives employees a much bigger say in what happens to us which makes it a very exciting prospect.”

Deb Oxley, CEO of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), which represents organisations which are employee owned or transitioning to employee ownership across the UK and which has been advising Middleton Hall Retirement Village, said the move would “secure the future of the business, its employees, its service to customers and contribution to the local economy, while retaining the values it holds dear, for many years to come”.

The move has also been welcomed by residents who were informed during a special briefing.

Jo and Dick Marlow said: “It was very interesting to read the information on the future of Middleton Hall. We are very pleased with the plans for employee ownership and hope the staff are equally excited by the future you are proposing.

“They are lucky to have such farsighted directors. We are also relieved to know that Middleton Hall will not become part of a national company and lose the personal touch that makes Middleton Hall the special place it is.”

Midldleton Hall is rated Outstanding in all five categories by the CQC.

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