As we enter Spring we still await the outcome of mediation and are honouring our commitment to the Co-Workers and other claimants in the High Court Action not to campaign against CVT during the mediation process. Like Spring it does all seem ‘a long time coming’ but we live in hope. An update on progress is provided in this newsletter.
This issue of the AfB newsletter features the first two of four tributes to two of the most significant figures to have been involved in Botton and Camphill in the post-Roth era, Marta Frey, who I first met in Tourmaline in 1975 when I visited Mrs Koenig, and my dear friend and Camphill hero, Chas Bamford, whose untimely death was a deep shock to us all, but not un-related to events arising from regime change within Camphill Village Trust.
From the tributes you will recognise the life of the old Camphill, and the commitment of these two wonderful individuals to the founding principles of the Trust and the shared living and caring that it brought to pass within the lives of so many, which was its cornerstone. Some will say that this is in sharp contrast to what has come to pass. Others would say that the changes that took place were inevitable. Were they?
The spirit of Camphill in its original form thrives in Scotland, with the full support and encouragement of the legislature, as elsewhere around the world. And I have included in this edition a piece by Dave Mitchell of Loch Arthur which shows the old Camphill Way determinedly facing the challenges that lie ahead.
Here in England, history will judge whether the new CVT, whatever their stated reasons for changing the communities they manage, have made a terrible turning or not. I am personally in no doubt that they have. Is Botton a better place than it was twenty or even ten years ago? I don’t think so. If you went there all those years ago you might even have been fortunate enough to see Marta or Chas in action, selflessly helping others and promoting the cultural life of the community and everything that went with it. Compare what it is like now with what it was like then. And if you were not there before, talk to those that remember.
Brendan Quayle, Chairman
Please click here to read the Newsletter (it is a large file so may be slow to load).
30 October 2016 - After a little while of silence, however not inactivity, we are pleased to share with you our latest Newsletter. Please click here to read it in full.
July mediation update
21 July 2016 - Dear Friends, here is the agreed statement from the latest mediation meeting. “The Camphill Village Trust and claimants from the Botton, Delrow and Grange communities are pleased to confirm significant progress was made towards a final settlement at the most recent mediation session held last week. Continue reading ...
Some good news at last - the Danby Health Shop
27 April 2016 - On 1st April, Botton Camphill Community purchased a health shop in the neighbouring village of Danby. Here is their announcement Continue reading ...
Mediation joint statement, February 2016
February 2016 - Representatives of Co-workers and families from Botton, Delrow and the Grange Camphill communities (the claimants) have just had the third mediation meeting with CVT representatives, and have produced the following joint statement for publication. Continue reading ...
Newsletter from AFB Chairman Neil Davidson
January 2016 - Please click here to read the latest AFB Newsletter.
All-Party support for the Vocational Camphill Model at Botton
December 2015 - An Early Day Motion - No 249 - filed this Parliamentary session which supports the preservation of the proven Shared Living Community model at the Botton community for the learning disabled near Whitby has won support from over 40 MPs drawn from every UK political party. Continue reading ...
"A Shared Life is a Healthy Life"
December 2015 - "How the Shared Lives model of care can improve health outcomes and support the NHS."
It's official: Shared living is good for you! After Botton's GP recently presented data from his longstanding practice demonstrating impressive health benefits of the Camphill way of life, a brand new report by Shared Lives Plus lends further support to the enormous health benefits for people with learning disabilities. In a foreword, Simon Stevens, Chief Exutive of the NHS, welcomes the approach as offering people the best chance of long-term health and resilience. Such very significant endorsement must give comfort to our co-workers who have been speaking and standing up for this approach for a while.
Please click this link to access the report.
The Camphill Village Model
November 2015 - In the context of new legislation, the Care Act, and the UN declaration there is renewed interest in models that people actually want, that allow living together with others, in real shared home, living in (the) community. It goes without saying that Camphill has been a leader in this field since decades and has acquired a degree of experience like few others in the sector. Equally like few others, Maria Lyons has a knowledge and understanding of Camphill and has applied her excellent research skills to produce this literature review and discussion of the benefits of living in Camphill community for people with learning disabilities. Published by the Centre for Welfare Reform, her paper is balanced and carefully argued and will be essential reading for anyone caring for people with learning disabilities.
Please click this link to access the report.
Action for Botton Chairman Neil Davidson voted Community Champion 2015
2 November 2015 - Retired solicitor Neil Davidson, who lives in Glaisdale, has been voted 2015 Community Champion by the readers of Coastal View and Moor News magazine and website. Neil was nominated for his work as chair of Action for Botton, an action group established last year to ensure both the preservation of shared living at the Botton village community for the learning disabled ... Continue reading ...
Action for Botton Newsletter October 2015
Our Chairman Neil Davidson comments on the presentation at Westminster and encouraging developments in the mediation and shares the latest joint press release after further mediation talks on 22 October 2015. Click here to read it.
Joint statement by CVT and Claimants
5 October 2015 - “A senior team from the Camphill Village Trust and claimants in the legal action against the charity met on 30 September to discuss the future of Botton Village. The discussion was open and frank and both sides felt that progress has been made in a helpful spirit towards a mutually acceptable solution. In particular it was agreed by both sides that work should begin immediately on exploring a shared lives or personal budgets model. It was agreed that Caroline Tomlinson, an expert on the shared lives model and a pioneer in introducing Personal Budgets, should be appointed to help the claimants explore the feasibility of introducing these models within a number of houses in Botton. Caroline, who enjoys the confidence of both parties, has agreed to undertake this task. Both sides acknowledged that many hurdles needed to be overcome but agreed to work together to support a successful outcome.“
The Botton Village Camphill Community (BVCC) Association
3 October 2015 - The Camphill community in Botton Village is celebrating its 60th Birthday this year. In this year we have also renewed our intention to continue and develop the work of Dr Karl König, who founded our village in 1955, and his vision of a community where people with and without learning disabilities share their lives, work together and celebrate cultural events. Continue reading ...
Ways forward for Botton's Camphill community
25 September 2015 - We have been fairly quiet in the recent months, since we agreed with the charity that what CVT saw as negative campaigning would pause during legal mediation. We are now half-way through this process, during which the claimants, co-workers and parents and their advisors, have been busy exploring options for shared living to continue in Botton. The charity has facilitated presentations by Alex Fox, CEO of Shared Lives Plus, and Caroline Tomlinson, a national expert in personal budgets. Both have been very helpful, the discussions are positive and we feel we are making good progress. We will soon be able to provide you with further information about the developments. In all this we are always aware of and grateful for the immense support you are providing us with, morally and financially!
Please find here a summary of the two presentations.
Choice for Intentional Community & Shared Living
15 September 2015 - Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster, London
A parliamentary presentation with on the benefits and methods of Shared Living and Intentional Community for the support of learning disabled adults.
Shared living and intentional community are demonstrably components of the most successful models of support for learning disabled adults, and deliver tremendous value. Many of these models are under threat unnecessarily to the detriment of both the learning disabled and the wider community. Continue reading ...
Legally binding mediation as hope returns
4 July 2015 - In the battle for the soul of the Camphill communities there is now a light at the end of the tunnel and - for once - it's not an oncoming train!
For those of you who have followed this saga and have generously supported us, a legally binding mediation agreement with Camphill Village Trust (CVT) was agreed in early July. There is now real hope that we can recover some of what has been lost.
Briefly, the main points are:-
- It is agreed that shared living is desirable as part of the mix of provision, that there is benefit in real Co-worker/beneficiary relationships, and that CVT have a commitment to both of these. Also it was agreed that Co-workers want to be independent from charity management.
- At Botton, both sides will explore how shared living can continue / be re-established within a specific timetable.
- The return of proper life-sharing at the Delrow community.
- There will be discussion over exactly what our short-term young volunteers can and cannot do and we’re confident of making real progress here.
- A local consultative body of parents, management and workers to be formed. The first one will be at Delrow which will act as a pilot before being rolled out at other communities.
- Two family members from the claimants will join the Board of Trustees initially as observers, then (after the AGM in November) as Trustees. One from 31 January 2016 and the other when the next vacancy for a family member arises.
- Agreement on the principle of one beneficiary (relative or nominee) one vote. What this means is that every resident in every community will now have a voice in how the charity is run. This is a big result for us.
- The agreement to be reviewed by January 2016 after which, if all is going according to plan, we will drop our High Court legal case against CVT.
- Regular 3-monthly reviews to see how things are going with legal mediation beginning in October 2015 and going on beyond January to thrash out any problems and these to be referred to independent dispute resolution if issues cannot be resolved.
- Costs to be carried by each party
All in all this was a good result for us but it's not over yet and there is still much work to be done. However, we have real hope of peace after 18 months of a bitter and soul-destroying dispute.
Action for Botton will continue supporting the Botton community during this process.
You can read the Settlement Agreement between the two parties by clicking this link.
Whitby Gazette, 6.7.15, "Botton row reaches mediation resolve" Link
Darlington & Stockton Times, 6.7.15, "Warring charity and campaign group move towards agreement over Botton community" Link
Appeal for Donations
There is still a need for us to fundraise to fund the mediation and our legal advisors, an ongoing process for the next six months, and ensure that we are ready should the process break down and the legal battle resume: we welcome and support the outcome of mediation wholeheartedly but we remain determined to act if it is misused to undermine co-workers and villagers.
High-Court action is stayed and will only be dropped if the parties are satsified with the results and binding agreements achieved during the coming six months. Please read our Legal Action Fundraising Appeal letter asking you all, as many as possible to donate to our cause: the protection of the happy homes for people with learning disabilities and their community, and protecting them from being segregated from the families that have been sharing lives with them, based on real human relationship and personal commitment.
Legal Action Fundraising Appeal - Letter
Legal Action Fundraising Appeal - Frequently Asked Questions
You can make a donation, large or small, in various ways:
Send a Cheque to: Action for Botton, The Vicarage, Danby, Whitby, YO21 2NQ
Pay into our Account: Sort code: 53-50-15, Account number: 50702254, IBAN: GB86NWBK53501550702254, SWIFT/BIC: NWBKGB2L,
Or donate Online - simply click the yellow donate button on the top of this page.
Camphill Families & Friends Charity supports shared living way of life in CVT communities
1 July 2015 - Camphill Families and Friends (CFF) yesterday issued a powerful statement supporting shared living and the way of life in Camphill communities, restating their “huge appreciation for the co-workers, employed or not, and what they brought to the lives of the people being supported.” Continue reading ...
Botton Village: Sustainable biodynamic farming under threat - Sustainable Food Trust
Another good CQC report for life-sharing Co-worker Community at Botton Village
4 June 2015 - The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) latest inspection of the Botton Village community (carried out on March 19th) has been published today showing the care to be classed good in all categories measured, as it has been for all bar one (2011) of the last sixty years. Historically Botton has been run as a shared-life VVC (Vocational Volunteer Co-worker) community, globally recognised as the gold-standard for care of the learning disabled. Continue reading ...
So why are they doing this?
1 June 2015 - We have just exposed the catastrophic cost-explosion in the Camphill Village Trust under the management of CEO Mr John, which again raises the question that so many have asked so many times: "WHY are CVT doing this?" This letter http://bit.ly/1FoDbqV from a parent offers a glimpse behind the scenes and some context to the disastrous decisions of CVT in the recent years. Furthermore, we reproduce a commentary by a relative of a longstanding Botton resident offering further analyisis and similar conclusions. Continue reading ...
Changes to charity operational model uneconomic and inferior
29 May 2015 - Top accountants confirm CVT’s switch away from its original Vocational Volunteer Co-worker (VVC) Model has already reduced Frontline Services by 13% and costs nearly twice as much to staff and manage - over 6 Million a year. Meanwhile separate figures show increased cost to taxpayers by 3000% through in-work benefits. Continue reading ...
Click here for a summary of financial information referred to in this article.
The Botton documentary - battle for the soul of a village
30 April 2015
Charity Commission grants permission for legal battle over Botton, Delrow and Grange communities to go the the High Court
28 April 2015 - Charity Commission grants permission for the legal case supported by Action for Botton and your generous donations to proceed to the High Court as intended. This is good news for the 23 claimants - Co-workers and relatives from Botton, Delrow and the Grange communities - and the many supporters of their cause from within the communities and from far away. Continue reading ...
CVT's misinformation corrected
9 April 2015 - On this page we offer clear and simple evidence that corrects the statements made by the Camphill Village Trust (CVT) and their new PR firm in relation to their reasons for enforcing the controversioal changes onto its communities. The thrust of CVT's argument is that various authorities have forced them to abandon the tried and tested and most popular life-sharing model where vocational co-workers live together with disabled people in freedom. The evidence presented here shows that it was in fact CVT's choice, they have not been forced. Continue reading ...
Wonderful friends ... become a Botton Buddy to support this community
Visit www.bottonbuddies.org to find out more
Questions raised in the House of Lords about the forced restructuring of Botton Village as the Action for Botton campaign continues to gain political traction
13 March 2015 - Following the petition last month presented at Downing St by learning disabled Botton residents and now with over 30 concerned MPs of all colours writing to David Cameron, and other government departments, Baroness Hollins has highlighted the plight of the community at Botton Village with reference to the pervasive mis-application of the Mental Capacity Act in a speech this Tuesday. Continue reading ...
24 February 2015 - A party of learning disabled Villagers, supported by their Co-workers, from the Botton community near Whitby (North Yorkshire) are taking their grievances directly to the Prime Minister. Today Tuesday February 24th at 3.15pm they will present a petition - which has been organised and signed by the Villagers themselves – at No 10 Downing Street. Continue reading ...
Communities for learning disabled people destroyed by the CVT
This is the conclusion of government advisor Prof. John Seddon (Vanguard), who in his latest book describes the CVT reforms as the perfect example of how NOT to conduct organisational change and provide social care. Read his conclusion in the textbox below, and click here for the article on the destruction of intentional communities, which analyses the same issue in detail.
For those who have not seen Botton and the other wonderful Camphill communities co-created by learning disabled people and career volunteers before, and seen the stark contrast to those run by the command and control organisation that the CVT has recently become, we attach here a paper that describes the differences between the two models side by side.
Keeping an Eye on Botton - Our story in the Private Eye
Eye 1392, 15.5.2015, "Co-workers Unite!"
Eye 1390, 17.4.2015, "Botton Bulletin" and "Botton Bravo" letters
Eye 1389, 3.4.2015, "Botton line"
Eye 1388, 20.3.2015, "Battle of Botton"
Eye 1384, 23.1.15, "Botton holed"
Eye 1383, 9.1.15, "Botton feeders"
Eye 1382, 20.12.2014, "Hitting rock Botton"
Eye 1380, 28.11.2014, "The fight for the volunteer village of Botton ... continues"
Eye 1378, 29.10.2014, "Follow-ups, Camphill Communities"
Eye 1377, 15.10.2014, "Botton's up?"
Also followed by the NY Enquirer
Other recent publications
Our April 2015 Newsletter with an update on Botton Village.
"What's love got to do with it?" by Revd. Michael Hazelton. 26.1.2015
Botton mediation delegates' comments on CVT statement, 21.1.2015
Our Open Letter of 4 December 2014 for context and more information
A letter that reveals CVT's new attitude towards its founding principles
Two letters to the Anthroposophical Society Newsletter
The website of our friends of Action for the Grange
Channel 4 report and discussion on the Channel 4 Facebook page
Channel 4 report and accompanying article on the Channel 4 website
Thousands support the real Camphill Community at Botton and what we do to protect it
"I applaud the work that has been done at Botton over many years and your action to protect the integrity of the community there. Well done!" Jill Frostrick
"As a parent of a less developed child, I am shocked by CVT's actions. As an individual, I am shocked by the dishonesty. This is shameful." Sir John Baring Bt
"We have never visited Botton Village, but have been supporters of your work for years and were appalled to learn of the CVT's actions recently. We'll be sending you a donation for your campaign and sincerely hope you are successful!" Linda and William Edmondson
"We Brits like to think we are a reasonable people motivated by fair play. We don't like being pushed around. If powerful people wish to change our lives we want to know why and we want to feel that there's a good reason for it. And if we feel we're being steamrollered we kick up. What is happening around the Camphill Village Trust's 9 communities for the mentally disabled is a great wrong not least because it is being pushed through without proper consultation. A great charity has been effectively hijacked by a group of executives who - whatever they may say - care little for its founding principles: namely the extraordinary idea that people who are able ( Co-workers ) should live and work together with people who are less able ( residents ) as equals to create a community. What this does for the less able is remove the underlying feeling of being "disabled". This experience can be so liberating that it needs to be seen to be believed. It's not black and white. Some CVT communities really did need to pull their socks up. And it's not simple. The demands of modern regulation are complex. But when all is said and done what the Camphill Village Trust is doing by dismantling what makes these communities special - and the way they are going about it - doesn't sit well which is why people are up in arms. This is a cause worth fighting for." Alain
Read so many more personal comments and statements of support under 'Voices of Support'