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Older people enjoy festive treat at The Kingslodge Inn

There was room at The Kingslodge Inn when over 100 older people joined us for a cracker of a Christmas celebration.

The Kingslodge Inn joined older people’s charity The Abbeyfield Society to support their annual Companionship at Christmas campaign.  Offering older people affected by loneliness the chance to share physical, emotional and spiritual warmth, Companionship at Christmas runs throughout the festive period and beyond. 

Silver revellers from Durham, Sunderland, Newcastle and Corbridge were among the party goers who tucked into a three course festive meal donated by The Kingslodge Inn and Abbeyfield and with support from Age UK Durham, before taking to the dance floor and enjoying party games, live music performances and carol singing. 

For 89-year-old Jean from Gilesgate, the highlight of the day was enjoying being surrounded by company and good cheer. 

Jean, who has lived alone since losing her husband and childhood sweetheart 33-years ago, said: “I really enjoyed it and will think about this day for ages. I have enjoyed the company so much and there was a lovely atmosphere. I don’t get out and see everyone as much, as I don’t see so well. I am at my best having people around and today has been very special. I have made new friends today – and made lots of memories too.”

Also enjoying the party atmosphere and raising a special glass of birthday champagne was Rita Duckett who was celebrating her 101st birthday. 

Rita, who lives at Abbeyfield’s The Newcastle Society Grove House in Gosforth, puts the secret of her longevity down to a glass of sherry each night before bedtime. 

Alastair Mulvie, director of fundraising at Abbeyfield said: “It has been a tremendous day. Seeing so many older people simply enjoying themselves, laughing, sharing stories, dancing, enjoying good food and forging new friendships has been such a joy and captures the very essence of what Abbeyfield is all about. 

“Abbeyfield was founded over 60 years ago to counter the debilitating loneliness faced by a forgotten generation of older people. That ethos continues today with campaigns such as Companionship at Christmas and our winter Feel the Warmth initiative. 

“I would like to thank The Kingslodge Inn and Age UK in Durham for their support in laying on such a fantastic event. Working together with businesses and like-minded organisations like them allows us to be able to make a difference to the lives of older people and make their later years happier and more fulfilled. 

Leanne Jeffrey, general manager at The Kingslodge Inn said: “I think we all felt ourselves welling up at times during the afternoon to see everyone having so much fun and enjoying themselves, like 91-year-old Joe who was dancing away to the music.

“Christmas is a time we associate with excitement, parties and celebrations, but for many older people it’s a time when they feel even more isolated. For many of those here today their only company is the television or radio. 

“It means so much knowing that we’ve given so many people a day to remember; helped them to make new friends, given them a lovely meal and let them know The Kingslodge Inn is a place that’s welcoming and friendly for them to call in and see us at any time. We even have one lady coming along to join us for Christmas Day lunch and are now running a monthly lunch club that 50-elderly people come along to with Age UK and Abbeyfield. It has been a fantastic day and we have been very proud to play our part in hosting such a worthwhile event.”

Now in its eighth year, Companionship at Christmas has offered a lifeline of warmth and friendship to thousands of older people at Christmas. 

Sadly, an estimated 500,000 older people are expected to spend Christmas alone in the UK.

The campaign sees Abbeyfield houses and homes across the country open up their doors to offer free overnight stays – so people don’t have to wake to an empty house on Christmas Day, meals, entertainment in the build up to Christmas and beyond. 

The Inn Collection Group secured as operators of £4m The Amble Inn

The Inn Collection Group secured as operators of new The Amble Inn

Leading pub company The Inn Collection Group has been confirmed as operators of a multi-million pound Northumberland pub with rooms development, set to open in October 2018.

Arch, developers of the site in the marina town of Amble, selected The Inn Collection Group as operators ahead of national competition.

The seven-site company will now add the Northumberland development to its acquisition portfolio of pubs with rooms, which includes new build schemes The Commissioners Quay Inn at Blyth and The Hog’s Head Inn at Alnwick.

The addition of the 30-bedroom Amble development to the group’s estate takes their total bedroom number to 232, making the Kings Park Capital backed operator one of the north east’s largest independent accommodation providers.

Construction of the inn started last month, generating an anticipated 60 jobs during the build element, with a further 35 positions created once the inn opens.

Keith Liddell, chief executive of The Inn Collection Group, said: “We are delighted that The Inn Collection Group has been selected to operate this exciting new leisure development in Amble. Our brand is synonymous with delivering a value-for-money, quality service and attention to detail, principles we look forward to applying in Amble.

“Our eat, drink, sleep and explore model will be a tremendous addition to Amble and the surrounding area’s leisure and business markets and we are looking forward to revealing further details about the inn in due course.

“The Amble development will be an excellent asset to our portfolio and cements our positioning as a leader in the leisure operator sector. With growing investment and regeneration in Amble there is a shortage of accommodation of this nature in Amble. The new development will undoubtedly fill this current gap in the market, offering much-need accommodation in the town to visitors so they can extend their stay locally, fuelling more trade for local businesses.

“In both the short and long term, the new development will give a boost to Amble’s economy, both from the jobs created during construction and the 35 permanent, full time positions the inn will generate.”

Located on Amble’s Coquet Enterprise Park Quay Road, an area earmarked for redevelopment, the two-storey building has been designed to provide an attractive venue for daytime and evening trade. The development will compliment recent investment in the marina town’s harbour regeneration.

Richard Wearmouth Chair of Arch said: "This development will bring quality, new accommodation which would undoubtedly mean more visitors and therefore more business for Amble. The inn will not only enhance Coquet Enterprise Park as part of our long-term plans for the area but it will bring much needed jobs to Amble. It’s developments like this which increase the potential for attracting inward investment to benefit Northumberland as a whole.”

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East LEP, said: “This is a significant investment in Amble and the surrounding area. The inn will contribute to the town’s leisure and commercial capability by increasing the area’s accommodation offer and helping to attract valuable additional overnight visitors.”

The development has been designed with a mix of 30 double, twin, accessible and family bedrooms across two floors. A ground floor bar and eatery area will provide covers for up to 150 diners inside with a further 100 covers outside and offer informal meeting spaces. There will be on site parking and cycle spaces.

The Amble scheme will operate on The Inn Collection Group’s model of providing value-for-money accommodation, quality beverages – with a focus on provenance and local real ales, and home made pub fare served all day, 365 days a year.

Construction of the development will be delivered by Tolent Living Ltd. 

Rock on with The Inn Collection Group

Eagle eyed people out and about the North East should look out for beautifully painted rocks featuring The Inn Collection Group inns.

The rocks, painted by talented artist Ashleigh Louise Legg of Fingerprint Art, each depict one of the group’s seven inns: The Lindisfarne Inn near Holy Island, The Bamburgh Castle Inn at Seahouses, The Hog’s Head Inn at Alnwick, The Commissioners Quay Inn at Blyth, The Kingslodge Inn at Durham, The Seaton Lane Inn at Seaton and The King’s Head Inn at Newton under Roseberry. 

Each painted rock has a message asking the rock to be returned to the inn where they can claim a prize. People can share the rocks they find on social media before they are hidden again for people to discover.

Operations director Sean Donkin said: “We’ve been inspired by the rock painting craze of Tyneside Rocks, Durham Rocks and Northumberland Rocks that is sweeping the region, which sees people painting rocks and hiding them for others to find.

“We thought it was a lovely idea and a great way to get people out and about enjoying the coast and countryside around our inns and away from mobile phones or computer screens but there is still the connection to social media which children – and adults enjoy.

“Ashleigh, a talented local artist, has painted our inns – which are all distinctive in landmark locations like Blyth water front and beneath Roseberry Topping in Newton under Roseberry and the results are amazing.

“We hope people have a lovely time searching for our rocks. And if you’re not lucky enough to find one yourself, why not try your hand at painting one of our inns for other people to discover, too?”

Seafront inn nails its colours to the mast as being best of the best

Seaside pub The Commissioners Quay Inn has swept the boards in The Inn Collection Group’s inaugural Best of the Best Awards.

Introduced for customers to vote for their favourite pub in categories including the best food, drink and accommodation as well as the staff behind their favourite venues – the awards attracted over 2000 votes across 21 categories, with the Blyth inn coming top in a whopping 16 categories.

Fans of the waterfront inn ranked The Commissioners Quay Inn top in categories ranging from best overall establishment and most family friendly inn to best cask ale and best Sunday lunch.

General manager Daniel Evans said: “We are over the moon to have done so well in so many categories. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and the fact that these awards are voted for by our customers makes them even more special.

“We are proud to have won categories across every sector of our offering – from our food and drink, to our outstanding team. It’s a real coup to have that accolade from our customers and I would like to thank everyone who voted for us and to the team here at The Commissioners Quay Inn for the great job they do.”

Food lovers at Durham city’s The Kingslodge Inn voted the Flass Vale inn top in dining categories including best chef’s special, best vegetarian meal and best seafood dish, while the inn also shone in the best housekeeping team award.

Newton-under-Roseberry based pub with rooms The King’s Head Inn was voted best by customers in the accommodation category.

Beal-based The Lindisfarne Inn narrowly missed the top spot for the best pizza category, taking the runner up slice.

A close runner up in the popular best fish and chips award was seaside pub, The Bamburgh Castle Inn at Seahouses. The inn’s front of house and management teams were only just pipped at the post by The Commissioners Quay Inn in the awards’  two most voted for categories.

The Inn Collection Group operations director Sean Donkin said: “We were absolutely delighted by the response to our first ever Best of the Best Awards. Our customers cast their vote by the thousand to show what does it for them at our inns across the north of England.

“It was brilliant to see that without exception, the most voted for categories were those including people – such as the best front of house team and best management team. It is exceptionally rewarding for the people behind our inns to get such recognition. It affirms the hard work and dedication they put in to making sure our customers enjoy the best possible experience when they step through our doors.”