Some co-workers say ...
"It is very sad to me, as a co-worker living together with the residents in Botton Village, to read such a misleading article. Yes, we don’t keep record of the hours we are working. Because if you want, you could say every meal is on duty and every evening is night duty, in addition to usual working time when we are cooking, cleaning, doing paper works, working on the farms/workshops etc. And I do not want to call taking whole household out to Pantomime/birthday lunch as “work”, though it is hard work. The idea of “work hours” diminishes the time we have enjoyed together to something countable by money.
Dear Mr. Huw John (or anyone in the management of the CVT), please come to our house to stay and work together say, for a few days. Everyone in the house always welcomes visitors and enjoys talk to new people. Please experience how you feel, when someone unconditionally welcomes you into their home, when someone cares if you had good sleep, when someone asks you how was your day at supper table, and when someone tells you how they like you in the house, which, I believe, every new co-worker has experienced during the first a few days after their arrival to the village. It is sad that you are working for the charity and haven’t had this special opportunity of sharing life. Please come and experience what you are trying to destroy.
And anyone sceptical of us, I don’t think I can invite everyone to stay with us from safety reason, but please do visit the village and have lunch with us. Also if you are interested in, I am very happy to show you the precise records of how much I spent during the year."
Marcello and Antonella
"I'm a coworker in Botton Village. I came to live here two years ago after having worked for years in a more conventional social care setting in different countries. I've found in Camphill the future. Still Botton could be the pioneering community that it has been so far. The doors are open...please come to visit us and see how we live. Come to see the actual expenditures of coworkers. While the management is locking the whole property and hiding the voice of the residents...we keep our doors open. It's tough life, challenging...but full of love, satisfaction, spirituality and culture...these are our benefits.
If we had looked for a luxury life we wouldn't have chosen to be coworkers...and that's why we've never seen any queue of people applying for becoming long term coworker. You can do it just as a vocational choice.
Please come to visit us and get to know the people. That is the matter. The management doesn't even know the names of the residents...how they can act in their best interest?!
looking forward to seeing you in Botton"
"Two years ago we were searching for a community where to live, in simplicity and connected to the land. We found out about Camphill Communities and within four months time we were in Botton. We have been amazed by the rhythm of the daily life where people with special needs find their home and their independence. That's why we renew every day with a new desire to be part of this unique community. A model for the future.
In High Farm we are mostly farmers and gardeners.
We live together like a family and we share our problems and our joys.
The youngest member of this family is 3 and the oldest is 76. We are 11 just like a football team: everybody with his own role but all working hard for the same goal.
Marcello, Antonella e Martino on behalf of High Farm"
"Oh dear, how sad to see the charity still trotting out the same old myths to discredit the co-workers.
I am myself a co-worker- indeed I have given 20 years of my life to this work, and I find the insinuations made by the charity's well paid managers absolutely insulting!
I was personally told by the charity that my family had cost them £65K last year. However, my personal tax return was just £6,500, with a further £1,500 of holiday expenses. All the rest was the charity's own opaque and unsubstantiated calculations of the hidden 'benefits' my family receives (a benefit, incidentally, is not a cost- but it clearly serve's the charity's agenda to muddy the waters).
I had an independent forensic accountant look at my costs, and they concluded that my family cost the charity less than £18K last year- which just happens to correlate with the average cost of a co-worker published in CVT's own accounts!!!
In short, what we are witnessing here is a vicious smear campaign by the charity's management on its own vocational volunteers. The fact that the vulnerable adults we serve and their families are overwhelmingly supportive of us is, I would suggest, a strong indication of where the truth lies in this murky matter.
Eleanor- I don't think I suggested in my original posting that I received no other benefits, besides the £6,500 I claim in taxable expenses. I mentioned a further £1,500 for the holiday family as a non-taxable expense (in compliance with our agreement with HMRC).
Besides that, I receive free accommodation (a benefit to me- but not much of a cost to the charity), and food & travel (which clearly do cost the charity something).
As regards education, the charity has hitherto made a fixed block contribution to the school (which is quite within CVT's Memorandum of Association)- and yes my child has received that as a benefit. The Trustees are of course at liberty to decide that the future funding of the school will need to be on a different basis. However, they do NOT have a right to retrospectively apportion a percentage of their block grant as my personal expenses.
The figure of £18,000 that our forensic accountant identified as my family's cost to the charity last year includes all the costs you mentioned- including the school, which has always been deemed a community expense, not a personal one- in keeping with the principles of Rudolf Steiner, upon which the work of the charity is supposed to be based. On that principle, the costs of the school are attributed to all the co-workers, and not simply the parents. The enlightened education of the younger generation is the responsibility of the whole community, and on that basis can be regarded as affordable.
I maintain that £18,000 p.a. for a co-worker family represents remarkably good value, given the quantity and quality of the support we provide to our people. Were it otherwise, I would suggest that the families of our vulnerable adults would not be as overwhelmingly supportive of us as they are."
Micky and Ernst
"After more than forty years still making a happy family home, living and working together with people who might otherwise not have the opportunity."
"Hi, my name is Claire Griffiths and I am a Co-worker in Botton Village, for 19 years this wonderful community has been home, work and life and my two children, now 23 and 24 both express how much it has meant to them to have grown up here. Like everyone I do many different things, I am a house coordinator and currently live next to our beautiful Hall together with 3 residents and 3 guest volunteers. As well, some of the other things I am involved in are cultural festival events and the guest volunteer induction program. Botton means the world to me, and I am so thankful for the years I have been able to be here."
Ruedi and Birgit
"We work as house co-ordinators and are involved in running two workshops. Our family shares a home with people with learning disabilities and young volunteers. We love to live and work WITH the special people in Botton, not only FOR them. We also love to be part of a community of idealistic people who came here from all paths of life and from all over the world. And this is exactly what we came for: contribute to a society which includes everybody - young and old, intellectual and practical, vulnerable and strong.
Would it not be fantastic if we could continue to work with this ideal? A Botton, which is embedded into wider society, socially and environmentally sustainable. A community that continues to be shaped by its members and can be an inspiration to many?"
Ruedi, Birgit, Josie, Elias and Dominic
Klara and Lukas
"First time we came to Camphill about 12 years ago for our gap year as young university students. We lived as co-workers in the Grange village. We returned back home and finished our studies, had jobs, got married and had children. But we felt that there was something missing in our lives. We wanted to be helpful, give freely for greater good and create something with other fellow humans. And it was then when we remembered Camphill again. We arrived to Botton village in May 2011 and since that time run one if tis households. Besides that Clara is involved in recruiting new co-workers and Lukas bakes bread in Botton bakery. Living in Christian based community, giving freely and not to be banned with any contract is an inspiration for us. The community life is also challenging, a place where there is always room for improvement and development. We found this all in Botton -the community which became our home."
Lukas, Klara, Karolina, Simon, Lota
Soleira and Erwin
"We are Soleira and Erwin, and we are in our thirtieth year here in Botton. We came to Botton realising it was a place where Anthroposophy could be totally integrated into all aspects of life, where we all, from the new-born right through to being an elder, with all our varying degrees of disabilities and talents, abilities and gifts, could contribute to a meaningful way of life; where each carries responsibility; each is accountable to the upholding of the true Camphill values and community living and life sharing;....where the spiritual life is part of our daily life, and where we encourage the other to develop and work with their full potential, supporting each ones striving as we work, live and celebrate our festivals together; .... and working for bringing the good to earth in our challenging world of today, where loneliness, isolation and too often despair becomes more and more the norm. To step away from what I might think I want, but to work with what is wanted by the other, and by the whole; to work with overcoming materialism, and working with each others needs, caring not only for each other but also for our surroundings, our homes and our land, creating beauty, and upholding truth. Reflection, forbearance, truth and forgiveness are necessary in this way of life, as is learning to love what may not be so easy at first; all this is something worth learning and working with, even if it is a lifetimes work!. This and much more is what we came to join in with, and this is what we hope for the future of Botton, all our future in Botton. p.s.: the song : 'Community building' says it in simple terms....:
'Let's build Community,
love , live, forbear, forgive;
let's build Community.
reach for your brother, tend to your friends,
care for others, for all of mankind.
let's build Community' "
Aidan and Lydia
"We came to Botton just over two years ago, both from teaching and working in state schools and with children with learning disabilities. We knew little of Camphill but our visits to Botton prior to arriving convinced us that we wanted to be part of this wonderful community of people. Its the people that make Botton such an incredible place; the people who have an ability to work for a common purpose, a real appreciation of working together, a love and fellowship that develops over time and a deep understanding of one another that comes from living together. In traditional 'social care settings' there is a very obvious and manufactured divide between 'people who are supported' and those providing the support. But here, we think that people have the opportunity to live as equals, as far as that is possible. That is something that cannot be lost. Botton shouldn't be forced to be like other places: its the absolute uniqueness of the place that makes it so great and this should be recognised, celebrated and nurtured, even if it goes against social care trends. There are ways of creating frameworks under which the essence of Botton can be preserved and we would like to be involved in an intelligent approach to making this happen. That is why we hope that Botton can have at least some degree of separation from CVT; because their standardisation agenda is killing what Botton is, as it has done in other CVT Centres. We're not prepared to participate in this or passively allow it to happen."
Aidan, Lydia, Thomasin, Ariadne and Elfriede
Christine and Jonathan
My name is Christine Reid. I came to Botton in 1976 to live a community life and to teach in the Botton Village Steiner School. I am the house coordinator in Castle House and i have a role in various areas of community management. I also provide learning support and art lessons at the Steiner school.
My name is Jonathan Reid. I came to Botton in 1980 because I was so impressed with the community life, the work ethic and the cultural richness of the place. I am a professional eurythmist who until recently taught in the Camphill Eurythmy School. At the moment my main work is in the cultural realm.
For us, we would like to see a future Botton that is sustainable, inspiring and innovative and one that is self-managing and free of the autocratic modus operandi currently exercised by CVT. It will be a community in which all stakeholders have a voice, which is integrated in the locality and which has recovered its grounding in anthroposophy and the spirit of Camphill. It will continue to do what it does best: offer community living, meaningful work and an aspirational cultural life.