Action 4 Botton

Timeline of events

Scroll down to May 2014, to when it all began. Click the underlined links for articles in full.

February 2018 - MEDIATION CONCLUDES. Here is the joint press release agreed by both parties, i.e. the claimants consisting of co-workers and families of people with learning disabilities, and the charity CVT. Here is a commentary by Action for Botton's Chairman Dr Brendan Quayle. 

December 2017 - AFB Christmas Newsletter

November 2017 - Botton Village Families Group (BVFG), a group of 90 family members of Botton Village residents who have been actively campaigning on behalf of their loved ones in Botton Village since 2011, write to North York Moors National Park regarding changes to the village proposed by CVT. Please find the BVFG submission here.

June 2017 - AFB Summer Newsletter  

Spring 2017 - AFB Spring Newsletter  

December 2016 - Chas Bamford    

October 2016 - AFB Autumn Newsletter   

July 2016 - Mediation update. Please find the agreed statement here

April 2016 - Botton Camphill Community purchased the health shop in the neighbouring village of Danby. Continue reading

February 2016 - Mediation interim statement. Representatives of co-workers and families from Botton, Delrow and the Grange Camphill communities (the claimants) have had the third mediation meeting with CVT representatives, and have produced the following joint statement for publication. Continue reading

January 2016 - AFB Newsletter

December 2015 - EARLY DAY MOTION No 249 supported by 49 MPs to preserve 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

December 2015 - Report: "A Shared Life is a Healthy Life." It's official: Shared living is good for you!  Click here for the report. 

November 2015 - Report: The Camphill Village Model. Maria Lyons produced a literature review and discussion of the benefits of living in Camphill community for people with learning disabilities. Click here for the report.

November 2015 - Action for Botton Chairman voted Community Champion 2015, Continue reading

October 2015 - AFB Newsletter October 2015 

October 2015 - Botton Village Camphill Community Association. The Camphill community in Botton Village has been 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

October 2015 - Joint mediation statement. “A senior team from the Camphill Village Trust and claimants in the legal action against the charity met on 30th 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.“ 

September 2015 - Ways forward for Botton's Camphill community. We are half-way through 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. Summary of the two presentations.

September 2015 - Choice for Intentional Community MEETING AT WESTMINSTER. A parliamentary presentation 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. Papers, videos of talks and a handout with the talks now available following the link. As one of the speakers Botton's GP found that the Camphill lifestyle prevents obesity and mental illness and explains why that is the case.  Continue reading

July 2015 - AGREEMENT TO MEDIATE IN HIGH COURT CASE. In the battle for the soul of the Camphill communities there is now a light at the end of the tunnel and it's not an oncoming train! For those of you who have followed this saga and have supported us, our teams ended two days of legally binding mediation with the Camphill Village Trust at 3:00 am (!) on Thursday morning with an agreement which, while not perfect, made significant steps in the right direction. There is now real hope that we can recover some of what has been lost. Continue reading 

July 2015 - Camphill Families and Friends (CFF) 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

June 2015 - Another GOOD CQC REPORT for Life-Sharing co-worker community at Botton Village. The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) latest  inspection of the Botton Village community has been published showing care to be classed as good in all categories measured, as it has  been for all bar one (in 2011) of the last sixty years. Continue reading

June 2015 - COST-EXPLOSION in Camphill Village Trust, which again raises the question: "WHY are CVT doing this?" This letter from a parent offers a glimpse behind the scenes and some context to the worrying decisions of CVT in recent years. Furthermore, we reproduce a commentary by a relative a longstanding Botton resident offering further analysis and similar conclusions. Continue reading

May 2015  - Charity's new model exposed as UNECONOMICAL and inferior. 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 operate. Meanwhile separate figures show increased cost to taxpayers by 3000% through in-work benefits. Continue reading

April 2015 - Charity Commission grants permission for the LEGAL CASE, the second 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

April 2015 - Local elections candidates face questions over Botton roaw at Danby hustings, with support from UNITE and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, in the form of a parliamentary motion, and Labour and Lib Dem local candidates. Continue reading

April 2015 - CVT misinformation corrected. We offer clear and simple evidence countering statements made by the Camphill Village Trust (CVT) and their new PR firm in relation to their reasons for enforcing the controversial 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 and that they have not been forced. Continue reading

April 2015 - For a summary and update of the issue, see our April 15 Newsletter

April 2015 - Shared living arrangements temporarily preserved at Botton. Campaign group Action for Botton has confirmed the shared living arrangement of Villagers and Co-workers at the Botton community has been guaranteed for the next several months following an agreement reached at the High Court with Camphill Village Trust (CVT). Continue reading

April 2015 - The heart of Botton, comment by AFB Chairman Neil Davidson. Botton is under virulent attack and at the High Court on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week much was given up to save the heart of Botton, which is and has always been the relationship and life-sharing between the learning disabled Villagers and the Co-workers. If an application had not been made by 9 parents and Co-workers then on April Fools Day 2015 CVT would have ended 60 years of sharing and caring (!) by preventing the Co-workers from carrying out the support for the Villagers and moving to execute the Notices to Quit served upon each Co-worker. Continue reading

March 2015 - Representative of charity Camphill Village Trust (CVT) failed to appear before North Yorkshire County Council’s ‘Yorkshire Coast and Moors Area Committee’ for a debate on the crisis at Botton Village. Representatives of the Botton Village Camphill Community and Action for Botton attended ... Continue reading

March 2015 - Bishop Tom Butler on the Botton Village community, in Thought for the Day BBC Radio 4

March 2015 - HIGH COURT halts proposed dismantling of learning disabled residents' shared homes. An order obtained by Bindmans temporarily halting the far-reaching and controversial changes being made by Camphill Village Trust (CVT) to the living arrangements of three of the learning disabled residents of Botton Village, a community administered by CVT, was made by the High Court. Continue reading

March 2015 - Questions raised in HOUSE OF LORDS about the forced restructuring of Botton Village as Action for Botton campaign gains political traction. Baroness Hollins highlights the plight of the community at Botton Village with reference to the pervasive mis-application of the Mental Capacity Act. Continue reading

March 2015 - Another packed PUBLIC MEETING attended by Labour and Lib Dem candidates - Botton campaign now in a crucial phase. “Our battle now moves to the Courts and legal action on several fronts is underway. We have only got this far thanks to your hard work and generosity and with the volunteer Co-workers now facing eviction from their homes we have certainly reached a decisive moment.”  Continue reading

March 2015 - BOTTON BUDDIES set up as a network of friends, local and from across the globe, directly linked to each household. Watch a clip here.

March 2015 - Solidarity with Botton Village. "From the other end of England I write as Chair of The Mount Camphill Community, on behalf of our  trustees, co-workers, staff and Association members, to send our warm support for the efforts of so many people in defence of Botton Village." Continue reading

March 2015 - LETTER BEFORE ACTION issued over serious charity governance issues. As a prelude to an application for an injunction and High Court proceedings, campaigners have issued a Letter Before Action over worrying governance issues within the UK’s 60th largest charity. Continue reading

February 2015 - Heartfelt pleas to charity leaders. Supporters of Camphill and Botton urge CVT to reconsider their strategy and eviction plans. Knowing Botton and why it became so attractive and successful, they warn CVT of the disastrous consequences of pushing on with their current approach regardless - the operation was succesfful but the patient is dead.

In their letter to Felicity Chadwick-Histed, Chair of the Board of the Camphill Village Trust, Brendan and Nicole Quayle, write: “It is wholly in your power at the present moment to step away from this willful godforsaken process of hurt, malice and destruction in which you have engaged. Do so before you bring Camphill Botton to its knees and further deepen the mire of controversy into which the Camphill Village Trust has stepped and may remain for many years to come. Once again, we ask you to withdraw the eviction process immediately and re-engage with the Co-Workers and their chosen representatives to determine a way forward that is actually coherent with what everyone else - except yourselves - recognise as Camphill.”  Continue reading

In her letter to Frances Wright, Catherine van Dam writes: “I urge you Frances, before it is too late, to reappraise your actions, use your influence positively to ensure that the Camphill Spirit (in its truest sense) continues to thrive in Botton, so that it may offer a beacon of hope and inspiration for many more generations to come. Show compassion and understanding to the remaining co-workers and their reasons for resistance. In doing so you will recognise that the real hope for Botton lies in the strength that mounts such a resistance and the personal sacrifice these co-workers are prepared to endure for worthy and nobel ideals.” Continue reading

February 2015 - Charity insurance debacle amid governance controversy and accounting questions. Continue reading

February 2015 - Disabled residents take petition to 10 Downing Street pleading against their forced segregation. Continue reading  

Northern Echo: Botton residents take petition to 10 Downing Street 

February 2015 - Charity easy read leaflet causes more unease. The Camphill Village Trust (CVT) has distributed a new easy read leaflet for the villagers in Botton. The following comments are in response to this leaflet. We are concerned that it distorts the truth and influences the opinions of Botton’s disabled residents. We conclude that CVT is trying to present a perpetrator as a victim and that CVT has a protectionist approach to a member of its team. Continue reading

February 2015 - Camphill Village Trust charity serves EVICTION NOTICES to Botton's Co-workers in a move that shocks community members, friends and families. Continue reading

February 2015 - Letter from Botton's co-workers to families

February 2015 - Calls for investigation into charity accounts. Members of the Camphill Village Trust (CVT) charity still wait for answers after a stormy AGM last December about CVT’s latest set of accounts. Continue reading

February 2015 - Villagers and co-workers delivered a PETITION signed by over 70 residents AND another letter signed by over 80 Parents AND the statements of support by over 3500 supporters, together filling nearly 150 pages A4. The Camphill Village Trust (CVT) only took one of the petitions and ignored the 128 remaining pages, which in the end were, beautifully presented with a ribbon and flower, left on the doorstep of the CVT office by one of the villagers. Continue reading

February 2015 - Trustee Resigns Amid Controversy over Charity’s Conduct - cites fundamental breach of founding Steiner ethos contained in the Memorandum of Association. Continue reading

February 2015 - CHANNEL 4 NEWS visits and reports on Botton community and changes imposed by CVT. "The Camphill movement was set up in the 1940s so learning disabled people could lead fulfilling lives alongside long term volunteer carers. But stricter care regulations following recent scandals have lead to bitter disputes in Camphill's flagship community - Botton village, North Yorkshire. And some fear change spells an end to what makes Camphill special."

Clip and comments on Channel 4 Facebook page

Clip and article on the Channel 4 website

22 January 2014 - CVT's PROPERTY CONSOLIDATION STRATEGY. No more doubts. This is the Camphill Village Trust's (CVT's) shocking master plan for the eviction of Botton's co-workers and their children, the social cleansing of the first Camphill Community for adults in Botton Village, in the year of its 60th Birth-day! For CVT officials this is about 'their' property, not people - the 'beneficiaries at the heart of all we do'. This document specifies which learning disabled villager will be moved to where in order to isolate the longstanding vocational co-workers so they can be evicted or otherwise removed. The strategy document was prepared by CVT during the mediation process. To comment on a typical CVT use of words, not 'many' have signed up for employment with CVT, only 9 have whilst 38 co-workers are holding to the ideal of a Camphill community.

Co-worker letter to families about the property consolidation strategy

The CVT's "Property consolidation strategy - Botton Village"

Co-worker letter to families in response to CVT e-mail

January 2015 - Joint Statement by representatives of Botton, Delrow and The Grange Camphill Communities. It is with great regret that delegates from Botton, Delrow and The Grange Communities who attended the mediated discussions with CVT representatives at Emerson College 8-11 December have to announce that the dialogue begun on that occasion has come to a halt. We believe the opportunity still exists for CVT to take the initiative to rescue the useful work that has been done in recent weeks, if it is willing properly to acknowledge our genuine concerns and our genuine wish to help to resolve the problems that now confront us all. Continue reading

January 2015 - Action for Botton regrets failure of mediation initiative but vows that the campaign will continue. Essential elements for mediation would not be committed to by CVT, and Action for Botton together with Alliance for Camphill have vowed that they will continue their campaign to fight drastic changes being implemented by CVT at the three communities. Continue reading

December 2014 - Season's greetings from Action for Botton. Our sincere gratitude to everyone who has supported the Action for Botton cause over the past months. Your kind and encouraging words and financial contributions to our campaign have been a decisive factor in our success. Our ambition may, in the beginning, have seemed like an impossible struggle against an unequal power with access to money, media, proxy votes and legal advice. Now, six months later, we are still here, growing in confidence, resolve and support. We feel privileged to be working with the co-workers in Botton Village. Their continued commitment to the villagers and the vision of their community remains inspirational and gives us every reason to stay by their side in the coming year. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas. May the New Year bring us all Peace, Joy and Success.

December 2014 - UNITE Union supports Co-workers in their struggle to keep Botton's way of life. "Unite backs a struggle to preserve a unique village where adults with learning disabilities and co-workers share their homes and work together. In doing so, Unite also wants to unionise and represent co-workers and paid employees at the village and the many other UK sites owned by the charity which runs it." Continue reading 

December 2014 - Action for Botton welcomes support for Three Communities from the CAMPHILL ASSOCIATION (AoCC). We welcome the decision taken by members of the Association of Camphill Communities (AoCC) at their recent Emergency General Meeting (EGM) to offer full support to the Botton Village, Delrow and The Grange Camphill Communites in their struggle to continue operating in line with the founding principles of Camphill. At the well-attended EGM on 3 December, the first one called in the history of the Association, three resolutions were passed with overwhelming majorities. Continue reading 

December 2014 - HMRC and Treasury confirm that the vocational co-worker status is still legal. It appears that CVT caused all this pain and damage based on a false premise. Who will be held to account?  “It is now obvious that the CVT approached HMRC to establish if their co-workers were employed or self-employed, totally ignoring the fact that co-workers are vocational workers and that the existing Agreement between HMRC and the Camphill Association establishes that fact.” Continue reading

November 2014 - Camphill Co-worker was evicted on false premise. The latest Private Eye reports that there was no safeguarding case to evict co-worker Mark Barber. Safeguarding is important but this case highlights how CVT has used it for political reasons, to evict an individual who opposes the views of the charity.

November 2014 - CAMPHILL ASSOCIATION refutes CVT's tax claim: AoCC finds that Co-workers are NOT employees. The Association of Camphill Communities (AoCC), the body representing the 61 Camphill communities in the UK and Ireland, strongly refutes CVT’s claims regarding the tax status of co-workers. “It is important to make it abundantly clear at the outset, that co-workers are vocational workers and no contractual or legal relationship exists between a co-worker, the community and the charity”writes Dave Mitchell, Chairman of the AoCC in his letter of 21 November to member communities.  Continue reading

November 2014 - In its latest response to lawyers the CHARITY COMMISSION clarifies that its decision not to launch an inquiry into alleged breaches of trust by CVT does not imply that the charity is acting in accordance with the principles of Rudolf Steiner as set out on the charity's governing document. Continue reading 

November 2014 - Alleged harrassment and misuse of safeguarding and capacity legislation by CVT managers. The Camphill Village Trust (CVT) once again barred the BBC from speaking to disabled Botton residents, who therefore made use of their right of free speech (which also applies to people who are disabled) in the nearby Vicarage for this film. Villagers, disabled or not, who do not like the changes have no voice in the CVT, a charity that has become accountable to nobody? Continue reading

November 2014 - New 'We are Botton' page introducing Botton's Camphill community. Click here to view this

November 2014 - Charity commission again declines to investigate CVT, this time after complaint made by relatives of learning disabled residents living in the Delrow community. The group had commissioned and submitted a legal opinion by charity barrister Hubert Picarda QC stating that charity trustees were acting ultra vires, outside their objects and powers. The commission however declined to investigate this and that this was a matter for the High Court to decide.

October 2014 - Private EyeThe Northern Echo and BBC Look North have reported on what we regard as a mailicious attempt by CVT to evict a Camphill co-worker from Botton village. CVT has issued a statement on its website denying all allegations. Continue reading  

October 2014 - 'BEACON FOR BOTTON' event. Continue reading 

October 2014 - Our analysis finds Failure of leadership at CVT. Reviewing the decisions and methods of CVT, Action for Botton concludes that trustees have failed to show prudent and inclusive leadership causing this crisis engulfing the Camphill Village Trust. Continue reading 

October 2014 - PARENTS of Delrow, the Grange and Botton concerned over changes:

Having scrutinised CVT's actions in great detail over the recent years, White, Wilson and Knight are in a position to conclude their most recent letter to CVT's chief executive Huw John with the following statements: "You are deliberately misrepresenting the facts to drive through your destructive agenda. In justification of your ultimatum to co-workers you say:

  • The HMRC will only consider them to be employees – which they don’t 
  • The Charity Commission require them to be employed – which they haven’t 
  • That the Memorandum can be widely interpreted – which it can’t 
  • That you always have the best interests of our relatives at heart – which you don’t"

The charity's CEO also gives the misleading impression that a growing number of parents are supporting CVT's reforms. We can confidently say that this is untrue. Already at the parents meeting before Open Day in July an overwhelming majority opposed the CVT's plans (see below, 5 July 2014). Since then, many more have joined a group that now has over seventy named parents and relatives of Botton Village. They simply want to ensure that their relatives can continue to properly live with co-workers and enjoy the genuine longterm relationships with their co-workers, as they know and trust them to care for and support their loved ones. They feel that this friendship, community and committment are what they have come to Botton for, and feel betrayed that CEO Huw John and his team would take this away from them.

October 2014 - Young co-workers add their voice in support of Delrow and Botton communities. Young co-workers (young guest volunteers) from two CVT communities, Delrow and Botton, have written to the management to describe their profound concerns about the ongoing changes and their effects on the lives of the villagers, the people needing support. Continue reading

October 2014 - Listen here to a BBC Radio Interview regarding Botton with an appeal to CVT to pause and talk to co-workers and other stakeholders before making substantial changes to the community.

October 2014 - The essential injustice and sometimes bizarre behaviour of the charity has been noticed by the PRIVATE EYE - they reported no less than ten times about the charity's antics in Botton dale.

September 2014 - Action for the Grange goes live. Please also show support for other CVT communities where the elimination of vocational Camphill co-workers is already well advanced: Delrow, the Grange and Oaklands Park. We all want to preserve the co-worker life-sharing model and the autonomy and self-direction of Camphill communities, and are therefore working together to further our joint aim. Visit the new website for Action for The Grange.

September 2014 - Call for Three Communities Convention. Co-workers and relatives of three CVT communities - Botton, Delrow and The Grange - are inviting stakeholders to a meeting with the aim of finding a way out of the current impasse affecting their communities. Many still feel their voices are not being heard in the current restructuring program and that the characteristic and much valued Camphill community and household model is being eroded. The intention is also to give learning disabled residents a chance to express their feelings and preferences about this question and how they wish to live. The convention will be an opportunity for the various views to be presented in a safe environment and to understand the needs and wishes of others better. It is an invitation to join an inclusive, collaborative and creative process of formulating a positive way forward for the three communities. This initiative also comes with the support of national and international Camphill bodies.

Open Letter - 'Three Communities Convention' - Botton, Delrow and The Grange 

September 2014 - International Camphill movement supports co-workers. Two international Camphil organisations have expressed their support for the co-workers who want to uphold the Camphill principles and values in Botton Village. Since then, many others have supported this urgent appeal, which we want to share with you. 

August 2014 - The CANDLELIT VIGIL held in support of Botton, Continue reading

August 2014 - In what must have been an embarrassement for a learning disability charity, a legal opinion contradicts CVT manager's understanding of mental capacity law after they tried to prevent learning disabled residents attendance at candle lit vigil and interview with the BBC and press. Continue reading

July 2014 - BBC News: Botton's CVT Manager prevents learning disabled people from speaking to the BBC. Continue reading 

July 2014 - BBC NEWS: "Botton Village home 'destroyed' by changes" View the clip here.

July 2014 - PUBLIC MEETING for Botton at Danby Village Hall. The venue was packed and it turned out to be a wonderful and informative evening, reflecting the strength of feeling and support for the Botton community.  Continue readingHere is the flyer

Clip of co-worker speaking

Clip of parent speaking

July 2014 - As charity directors remained unwilling to engage with its community, co-workers had to take a difficult decision. They published the Botton declaration restating the core values of a Camphill community.

July 2014 - The Whitby Gazette and Northern Echo, also the Yorkshire Post and Guardian began writing about the destruction of the community. The articles are all here.

July 2014 - Action for Botton Facebook Page set up that will reach over 2500 with regular updates and always remain open to comments, questions and discussion (in contrast to the charity's pages)

June 2014 - ACTION FOR BOTTON (AFB) has been formed to support and protect the community. AFB Chair Neil Davidson writes to the CVT Chair of trusteesA leaflet is printed to inform the public.  

May 2014 - Camphill Village Trust (CVT) issues ULTIMATUM to Co-workers. The charity's infamous letter to Botton's co-workers of 13 May 2014 started it all off. It caused a shockwave through the normally peaceful community, Continue reading. Fifty Botton co-workers replied the following week, appealing to the charity's trustees to reconsider their decision and find a collaborative way forward. Read their letter in full here.

September 2013 - A group of Botton parents made a complaint about CVT to the Charity Commission, centred on the "Departure from the Memorandum of Association: CVT has departed significantly from the Memorandum by deliberate and admitted actions ultra vires and is intending to depart further, by implementing a recent review that takes no account of the Charity’s Objects."  Read their letter of complaint here