Beacon for Botton
300 gather at Danby Beacon as Botton Village Campaign gains momentum
26 October 2014
Some 300 supporters of the campaign group Action for Botton braved strong gales this Sunday evening to light the Danby Beacon – a prominent North Yorkshire landmark near Whitby. The event provided a focus for supporters as they continue to fight drastic and unnecessary changes being imposed on the community by the Camphill Village Trust (CVT) management. It also marked the 60th anniversary of the signing of the charity’s original memorandum and articles - inspiring a movement which has resulted in more than 100 Camphill communities around the world.
Twelve simple statements were spoken by co-workers, villagers and local friends. Each statement highlighted a unique aspect of Botton as an ‘intentional community’ where vocational unwaged Co-workers share their lives with learning disabled villagers and help them achieve their potential living fulfilled lives.
Supporters used the event to call upon North Yorkshire Social Services, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Charity Commission and policy makers to help the community and stop the radical changes being forced onto Botton. These changes are being made on a variety of pretexts and are against the wishes of the clear majority of villagers, Co-workers and villagers’ families. They also urged the management of CVT to realise that support for Action for Botton is coming in from Camphill communities all over the world, and that now is the time to engage in constructive discussions. Finally, they called on the world to witness what has been achieved at Botton and how Action for Botton is committed to ensuring the inclusive community continues to lead the way in helping the learning disabled live rewarding and fulfilling lives.
Botton co-worker Jonathan Reid said: "It is clear that what people want is community – they do not want relationships built on the subtle apartheid of carer and client but on the mutual support and friendship that one human being offers to another. All human beings have a right to these relationships and the person with a disability should be no exception.”
Click here to read the concluding address by Jonathan Reid.
The growing opposition to the activities of Camphill Village Trust has escalated significantly following letters issued by CVT to more than 40 co-workers.
In July, these co-workers signed a declaration opposing CVT's intention of replacing them with low-waged support workers operating on eight hour shifts and living separately from the learning disabled residents, thereby eliminating the community's life-sharing ethos. Action for Botton campaigners fear that these letters are merely the first stage in a process, which - if the Co-workers continue to show no interest in becoming low-waged shift working employees - will lead to their eviction.