Action for Botton welcomes support for 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.
1. To request that CVT commence, without delay inclusive dialogue on behalf of the Communities at Botton, Delrow (near Watford) and the Grange (Newnham-on-Severn) with the Camphill Village Trust.
2. To provide full support to the three communities in their negotiations and desire to remain Camphill Communities true to the founding principles of the Camphill Association. This help to be provided by the AoCC in the UK & Ireland and representation to be made to the worldwide Camphill Movement.
3. In advance of the AoCC’s AGM in March 2015, each community to confirm their clear intention to strive to remain a Camphill Community true to the founding principles.
Neil Davidson, chair of Action for Botton, said: “This strong endorsement of our struggle for the Botton Camphill Community is very welcome and will give our many supporters added confidence as we continue the struggle against Camphill Village Trust’s attempts to dismantle the whole ethos at Botton.”
In a separate move, Action for Botton also rebutted CVT’s claim that HMRC was scrapping the long-established tax arrangements for volunteer Co-workers. The AoCC reported that it had confirmation from both taxation experts and HM Treasury that the tax agreement negotiated back in 2002 was still valid. In addition, a number of Co-workers at Botton have also now received confirmation from HMRC that they merely provided an ‘opinion’ to Camphill Village Trust based on evidence supplied by CVT, but not a ‘ruling’.
Neil Davidson added: “This announcement by CVT is a prime example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. CVT are the ones who have steamrollered through drastic changes to the way some of the communities are run and imposed a hierarchical management structure against the wishes of the clear majority of the Co-workers, the learning disabled villagers and their families.
“They then go to HMRC and claim the changes mean that the previously agreed tax arrangements are no longer relevant. I am delighted that HMRC as well as the Treasury have verified that the long-standing tax arrangements for volunteer Co-workers remain valid.”
CVT's own Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 5 December only served to confirm the sense of crisis gripping the CVT. Three CVT trustees only got re-elected with the help of over a hundred proxy-votes at the perusal of the Chairman Ms Chadwick-Histed, produced as a consequence of their campaign of gerrymandering the list of voters over the recent year, as well as influencing all voters before the AGM by writing about perceived conflicts of interests of the three other trustee candidates. Without such manipulation the vote could and probably would have produced three new faces on the Board.
Many very uncomfortable questions were asked from the floor that Trustees either evaded or simply cut off, silencing speakers who asked about alleged bullying of Camphill Co-workers by management, or about Frances Wright’s statement that the AoCC-HMRC agreement was an “amazing sweetheart tax deal”. A meeting that raised more questions than answers, and left us with the impression of a Board unmoved by the genuine concerns of its stakeholders.