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Our team at
Ventress Hall

Trusted to care in Darlington, County Durham

Trusted to care in Darlington, County Durham|With 40 years’ experience,
Care UK are experts in delivering award winning care|Care UK is the most awarded care home provider for the last three years|Discover why Care UK is trusted to care by over 9,000 families


Meet our friendly care team

There's a strong family atmosphere here at Ventress Hall, and it's all down to our superb team. Some of us have worked for years in the care sector, while others have moved from other industries, or have cared for family members and then wanted to care for others. You can find out more about us on these pages.

Diane Encinias

Home Manager

Diane Encinias

I joined Ventress Hall back in the 1990s, progressing from a carer to a senior and then to become the deputy manager.

I became Home Manager in November 2019.

All of my experience enables me to challenge our practices, improve what we do and strengthen our relationships with the local CCG and healthcare team – all for the benefit of our residents.

I love seeing the residents happy, and I enjoy seeing the positive impact of the work we do. We often have residents join us for short term respite care as they convalesce after an illness or operation. It’s wonderful to see them recover and return home. 

I’ve worked with many of the team here for many years. I have a profound respect for them and recognise each of their contributions. It’s safe to say that this home has a special place in my heart and I’m looking forward to developing Ventress Hall even further so we can deliver even greater outcomes for residents and their families.

Janet Sutherland
Janet Sutherland
Deputy Manager

I joined Ventress Hall because of its good reputation and CQC inspection report. I’m a qualified nurse for learning disability, and 10 years ago I had no experience of general care. With the support of the Home Manager and my colleagues, I have developed clinical skills to enable me to care for all aspects of residents’ needs.

In this role, it’s important to be confident, competent and knowledgeable. You also need to be flexible, empathetic and a good listener. I’m responsible for liaising with other professionals and supervising colleagues of all professions, and I ensure we all work in a person-centred way by identifying individual needs, as well as maintaining health and safety.

I love spending time with the residents here, listening to their life stories and experiences and helping them to live fulfilled lives. I’m proud knowing that they have received a high standard of care while we work together as a team.

Outside of work, I love European caravan holidays, reading, art, food and wine, travelling, cooking and spending time with my extended family.

Bethany Laidlaw
Bethany Laidlaw
Lifestyle Coordinator

I found this role through a family member who thought that my drama background would make me quite suited to an interactive role like this. Previously, I was working as a barmaid. As a Lifestyle Coordinator, you need to have qualities like enthusiasm, confidence, communication skills, empathy, patience, resourcefulness and humour – just to name a few!

Seeing how happy the residents are to see me, it makes my job worthwhile knowing I can make their day meaningful and engaging.

The highlight of my career so far was becoming a Dementia Care Coach. After my Nana had lived with dementia, I felt I needed to understand it more. Now, I pass my knowledge on to my colleagues and residents’ family members so they can have a better understanding of dementia. Seeing how far I’ve progressed and what I’ve learned along the way makes me so proud of what I’ve achieved.

Paul Dowson
Paul Dowson
Head Chef

I decided to join the team at Ventress Hall because I was looking for a new challenge. As Head Chef, it’s important to be hard-working and have good communication skills. You also need to be good at building your team and prepared to give 100% in your job.

There are many important aspects to my role, including organising rotas, ordering food, ensuring hygiene standards are met and managing a good team who are hard-working and enjoy their roles.

I love every part of my working day at Ventress Hall, cooking and preparing meals to the best of my ability for residents to enjoy. Getting good feedback from residents on how much they’ve enjoyed their meals makes me proud of what I do.

Julianne Christon
Julianne Christon
Clinical Lead

I have been a Registered General Nurse for 37 years and have achieved diplomas in diabetes care, end of life/palliative care, cardiac care, and facilitating learning in clinical practice. I also served for six years as a nurse in the Royal Air Force, caring for civilian and military personnel.

Before becoming the Clinical Lead at Ventress Hall, I was working as a Home Manager. I joined Care UK as I felt their values matched what I endeavour to provide to residents every day.

In this role, good communication, teamwork and approachability are important. I believe you also need to lead by example, impart high standards to colleagues and be prepared to undertake any role required. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and skills with colleagues and providing support to others.

The most important parts of my role are ensuring residents receive the appropriate level of care they need and wish for and supporting my team. I also enjoy spending time each day getting to know residents and families to enable bridges to be built to develop open communication.

Knowing the residents at Ventress Hall are cared for to the highest standards and my colleagues feel supported and appreciated makes me proud of what I do.

When I’m not at work, I love walking my three black labradors, reading, doing yoga, and camping.

Wendy Clare
Wendy Clare
Business Administrator and Head Housekeeper

I’m the Business Administrator and Head Housekeeper at Ventress Hall. I love how busy my role is and that I’m able to help colleagues, residents and their families every day.

As Head Housekeeper, my role is to ensure the home is kept clean and infection free. I worked my way up to this role from a Laundry Assistant, and I’ve found that it’s important to be friendly, helpful and caring, as well as calm, patient and able to work under pressure.

These characteristics also apply to my role as Business Administrator, where I ensure all tasks within the home are completed on time and accurately.

I’ve received my Level 2 Customer Service and Level 3 Administrator qualifications, and I was proud to have been awarded my region’s GEM award, and for being nominated for Housekeeping Team of the Year and Business Administrator of the Year.

Dawn Campbell
Dawn Campbell

Before joining Care UK, I was a manager in a betting shop. I was looking for a change in career, and I’d been told that Ventress Hall was a nice place to work.

In a receptionist role, you need to be happy, helpful, friendly and cheerful. I believe making sure people are happy is the most important part of my role. I love helping people within the home – I feel proud of what I do because I’m always helping people.

I’m currently undergoing my Level 2 qualification in Customer Service. Studying for this has been a highlight of my career.

Our experienced teams

Every day Care UK colleagues live our values of passionate, caring and teamwork to empower residents to enjoy fulfilling lives.


Our hardworking teams always keep individuals and their families at the heart of the care they provide. We work with you to shape the care your loved one receives, the food they’re served, the activities and experiences they want to do – even the ways they prefer to keep in touch with their friends and family. 


The nurses at Care UK are highly skilled and receive sector-leading training, which enables them to keep developing expertise in different clinical fields from dementia to palliative care.


Our dedicated lifestyle teams work hard to organise a range of activities and events at our home. From gardening and baking to quizzes, music sessions and even live entertainment. Above all, we get to know your loved one to make sure our activities are tailored to suit their interests and hobbies.

Home support roles

From catering to maintenance, housekeeping to administration, our home support teams play a crucial part in ensuring individuals enjoy an exceptional and safe service every day.

All our teams get to know each person they care for to ensure they provide a service that’s designed around their unique needs and tastes. 

Infection control

Each of our homes have a trained Infection Control and Prevention Champion – they are responsible for carrying out daily infection control audit and ensuring cleaning protocols are meticulously applied.