Botton Village - a unique and wonderful community
Being a Camphill community means sharing lives as members of a household and a small community. Botton's village houses are home to live-in ‘Co-worker’ families and a variable number of people with a learning disability. They know each other well and take care of each other and share meals together. There is a great variety of jobs to do in and around the houses, on the farms and gardens and the many workshops – meaningful work that is also an opportunity to learn new skills, to feel proud and make a personal contribution.
Read the Brochure "Botton Village - a special way of life" here to get an impression.
As a responsible provider of social care Botton observes and meets the standards of authorities and regulators. Social care legislation has evolved rapidly in the recent years and, in partnership with the Camphill Village Trust (CVT) the Co-workers have navigated a phase of intense adaptation and development. This now allows Botton to demonstrate better how they support service users and to provide greater reassurance to families, authorities and society who entrust them with the support of vulnerable people.
Botton in Jeopardy
On this journey Botton has now arrived at a difficult juncture. The board of the charity Camphill Village Trust (CVT) has made it clear that they wish to move in a direction Botton no longer recognises as Camphill. CVT has decided there will be no more long-term Co-workers living with the learning disabled residents, who would instead be supported by employed staff. Under this new model, the essential element of living together is deemed ‘problematic’ by the charity. Some or many houses would be developed into individual apartments for the residents.
However, essential to the Camphill model are the voluntary long-term Co-workers – couples or families who often dedicate years to this work, sharing their lives and their homes with people in need of support, out of love. Botton Co-worker families and Action for Botton feel strongly about this. Abolishing vocational Co-workers and shared living in a household will substantially alter the nature of how the charity works with huge implications for those they serve. Both they and their relatives overwhelmingly regard the Camphill shared households and community as the indispensable features of the Botton they love. We believe that the Camphill way of life is profoundly human. It respects people’s individuality, whilst acknowledging that people also need each other – that we are interdependent.
A Way Forward
The trustees argue that there is no alternative to the current course. This is not true and even the legal basis of CVTs plans is seriously disputed by others, but CVT flatly refuses to engage in any alternatives to their course. Botton Co-workers and Action for Botton remain convinced that with sufficient will and an honest desire, there are ways to allow Botton to not just survive as a genuine Camphill community but to become pioneers in community building and social care again.