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Thornfield Grange

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Thornfield Grange Residential Service for People on the Autistic Spectrum

Thornfield Grange is a residential service with nursing situated in Bishop Auckland, County Durham. It supports people with autistic spectrum conditions who are also living with a learning disability and complex needs. The service supports individuals whose behaviours are perceived as challenging or those who have significant difficulties with social engagement.

People usually come to Thornfield Grange as part of their care pathway. They could be moving on from a hospital setting or their supported living placement may have broken down and they need some extra support. At Thornfield Grange we believe that everyone should be treated as a full and valued member of their community with the same rights as everyone else. Therefore, our focus is on rehabilitation and the improvement of their health and wellbeing. Every day we are helping people develop trusting relationships and attain positive outcomes. 

Service users are encouraged to identify and achieve their own personal goals using person centred thinking and approaches in a low arousal environment. We work hard with the people, their families and those closest to them to find out what is important to them and what their hopes and dreams for the future are. This is part of our commitment to use every opportunity we can to hear and act on the views of those we support and those who know and care about them best.

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About Thornfield Grange

Thornfield Grange is an impressive period property situated in the bustling market town of Bishop Auckland,surrounded by beautiful
County Durham countryside. Within Thornfield Grange there are two good sized living areas that people can choose to use. Other facilities include a wellstocked arts and crafts room and an internet cafe where people can Skype their family members and important others. There is a games console in the communal lounge which is great for helping with coordination skills and promoting fitness.

A holistic therapist attends Thornfield Grange on a weekly basis as a therapeutic intervention for people who require this. There is also a life skills kitchen where people are supported to make their own drinks and prepare food for visitors and themselves. Within the grounds there is an allotment, which is looked after by the people who use the service. Other outdoor activities are available and there is a large lawn with patio and seating areas for people and their visitors to enjoy.

Thornfield Grange provides a structured, positive, empathic and low-arousal environment with good links to family and outside agencies. Just a short walk from Thornfield Grange is the centre of town where people can access the local amenities including a pharmacy, convenience store, pubs, restaurants and an arts complex. Days out are popular at Thornfield Grange and Auckland Castle is just a short drive away with its deer park which is ideal for summer picnics or long walks.

Thornfield Grange is just a short drive from the historic market town of Darlington, which has many community and autism friendly activities for people to access. These include leisure centres, cinema, theatre, markets, shops and cafes.

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About Thornfield Grange

Thornfield Grange - About Thornfield Grange

Danshell Logo small3Thornfield Grange is an impressive period property situated in the bustling market town of Bishop Auckland, surrounded by beautiful County Durham countryside.

Within Thornfield Grange there are two good sized living areas that people can choose to use. Other facilities include a wellstocked arts and crafts room and an internet cafe where people can Skype their family members and important others. There is a games console in the communal lounge which is great for helping with coordination skills and promoting fitness. A holistic therapist attends Thornfield Grange on a weekly basis as a therapeutic intervention for people who require this. There is also a life skills kitchen where people are supported to make their own drinks and prepare food for visitors and themselves. Within the grounds there is an allotment, which is looked after by the people who use the service. Other outdoor activities are available and there is a large lawn with patio and seating areas for people and their visitors to enjoy.

Thornfield Grange provides a structured, positive, empathic and low-arousal environment with good links to family and outside agencies. Just a short walk from Thornfield Grange is the centre of town where people can access the local amenities including a pharmacy, convenience store, pubs, restaurants and an arts complex.

Days out are popular at Thornfield Grange and Auckland Castle is just a short drive away with its deer park which is ideal for summer picnics or long walks. Thornfield Grange is just a short drive from the historic market town of Darlington, which has many community and autism friendly activities for people to access. These include leisure centres, cinema, theatre, markets, shops and cafes


Family Matters

Thornfield Grange - Family Matters

Family mealThe team at Thornfield Grange know that the people we serve are part of a wider circle of family, friends and networks that are important to them and therefore, important to us. We work in partnership with them to ensure we provide the right service for their relative but also to support them in their own right as a family carer. Family carers and important others are encouraged to develop good contact arrangements with staff at Thornfield Grange. We look forward to receiving visitors as well as updates from family carers and friends by email, phone, Skype or FaceTime.

Some of our family carers at Thornfield Grange are involved in the recruitment and interview process for employing staff. This ensures that they have their say about who they think would be able to deliver good support at Thornfield Grange.

The Danshell Family Carer Forum is independent of the organisation and run by a group of family carers with representatives from every region of the UK. The forum facilitates family carers to ask questions, discuss worries and support one another. It produces a quarterly newsletter which helps families share experiences as well as keeping people up to date with benefit information, legislative changes and relevant Danshell developments.

Personal Activities Plan

Thornfield Grange - Personal Activities Plan

Thornfield Grange has a dedicated activities co-ordinator who supports service users to have individual person-centred plans. The wants, needs and interests of each individual are established through a variety of sources of information and communication with key people.

Service users are supported to participate in social activities that may be of interest to them through the well-established network of community based groups in Bishop Auckland and the wider County Durham area.

Alyson - Activity Co-ordinator - Thornfield Grange

I am the activity co-ordinator at Thornfield Grange and my main aim is to promote service user independence. I ensure that the needs and interests of each individual are met in their person centred activity plans by working together with them and the key people in their lives.

Activities at Thornfield Grange are tailored to individual choice and needs. Twice a week we visit the Alan Shearer Centre where people use the sensory rooms and the hydro pool. We have regular individual shop and cook sessions where service users shop for their own meals then cook using our training kitchen. We have a weekly session with our PAT dog (Pets As Therapy), his name is Ben and this is a very popular activity.

We have regular walking sessions, visit local nature reserves and attend ‘Gateway Wheelers’ on a monthly basis where we get to use assisted bikes tailored to individual needs. There is also a local sports forum where the people we support meet up with other people outside of their service for games of football, tennis or cricket. This is very popular and a great success, it is a real chance for service users to socialise and meet new people.

Other activities which we access include autism friendly cinema screenings once a month, holistic therapy sessions, discos, horseriding, personal shopping and many others. A weekly house forum takes place where amongst many things, group or individual activity choices can be discussed and planned.

Positive Behaviour Support

Thornfield Grange - Positive Behaviour Support

Many of the people we serve at Thornfield Grange have behaviours that challenge services. We believe that we have to make a long term commitment to providing the right support for each individual to improve their quality of life. This does not mean that people need to remain in the same place but rather we continue to support them in a person centred way along their care pathway and ensure that what we learn about the person and the best way to work with them, is respected, applied and built on.

Importantly, our way of working supports people to be included in their own communities and promotes choice and control, the development of skills and alternative strategies for coping with challenging situations.

To enable this to happen we implement a range of interventions including:

  • Functional Assessment of Behaviour.
  • Personal Positive Behavioural Support Plans.
  • Individualised activity and skill acquisition programmes.
  • Education and employment opportunities.
  • Specialist assessments of need and risk e.g. HCR-20.
A Safe Place To Be

Thornfield Grange - A Safe Place To Be

Safe PlaceOur organisation is committed to delivering care and support in a safe, dignified and respectful manner. We have an extensive governance system called ‘Safe, Sound and Supportive’ that monitors individual and organisational performance against a range of safety and outcome indicators.

Using electronic reporting systems we are able to monitor and act swiftly in response to incidents or untoward events. Our systems and structures provide what we believe to be a ‘gold standard’ approach to securing service user safety.

Across all services there is an independent and confidential whistle blowing policy and service for all staff to use if they are worried about service user safety, care and wellbeing.

Service User Involvement

Thornfield Grange - Service User Involvement

Thinking planWe encourage people to say how they feel about all aspects of the service they receive and we give them the tools and support to do this. This includes their views about how we deliver support to them, their care plans and the activities they want to do. This is done by supporting people who would like to be a part of the service user forum at Thornfield Grange. Here they can tell us what matters to them, their points and actions are noted, created in an accessible format and fed back to the manager to act on and feedback is given to the group. We also support people to attend the regular regional service user forums which are a great way for individuals to meet new people from other services and exchange ideas.

A number of service users have been trained as Experts by Experience or Quality Checkers, their role is part of the Quality Development Review Team who inspect services to make sure they are good. We also train and support people to be a valued member of the recruitment and interview process in many of our services. We have created policies, communication and measuring tools to enable this to happen across all of our services. Feedback from the people we serve is vital to making sure we are doing things well. We have post CPA and service user exit questionnaires which are used to support people to do that. Adapted questionnaires are used for people who need support in communication and that way we can be sure all voices are heard and acted upon. All feedback is collated and fed back to the Board.

The advocacy group working at Thornfield Grange is called VoiceAbility and everyone we serve has access to an independent advocate.

Danshell is committed to developing services that reflect what the people who use our services and their families tell us is important. This includes ensuring they, their family and carers are fully involved in processes such as the Care Programme Approach (CPA) and in evaluating the service we provide.


Staff Support

Thornfield Grange - Staff Support

A Support health gpThornfield Grange is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a registered nurse on duty at all times. The team is made up of a service manager, nurses, support workers, an activities coordinator and other ancillary staff. Staff are trained to meet a range of health and social care needs and to support people using the values of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS).

When new staff come to Thornfield Grange they are trained in autism awareness. This is then followed by Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF) autism modules which will have been identified in the staff member’s personal development programme.

We are committed to the learning and development of our staff as stated in our Quality Strategy and Personal PATHS model of care. We have also created a Training and Development Strategy which reflects the importance of increasing people’s confidence, knowledge and expertise.


Thornfield Grange Residential Service

60 Etherley Lane
Bishop Auckland
County Durham
DL14 7QZ
phone-easyread01388 602 920

Manager: Melissa Baynes
mail 25x25 



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