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The first casualty of the controversy surrounding the activities of the charity Camphill Village Trust (CVT) is the shock resignation last week of its last Co-worker Trustee Ian Bailey.

It is very clear from his resignation letter that changes planned by the CVT Trustees and being implemented by the charity’s senior management have rendered Mr Bailey's position untenable.

In his resignation letter to Chair of Trustees Felicity Chadwick-Histed, Mr Bailey cited a number of reasons for leaving including that “I fundamentally disagree with the line taken by the Board in its interpretation, or lack of understanding of, the Articles & Memorandum of the Trust”; an issue that is now the subject of potential legal action from three groups of campaigners who oppose CVT’s sweeping changes. The groups maintain that the charity’s actions in destroying the communities they were charged with protecting are in direct contravention of the remit under which CVT was originally set up, as clearly detailed in the Articles and Memorandum.

A CVT Trustee for over four years, and Camphill Co-worker for fourteen, Mr Bailey expressed deep concerns about irregularities in the way the board itself was operating including, disturbingly, “the almost total lack of information, minutes of Board meetings” and that he was evidently excluded as a Trustee from the decision making process. He states that the Charity seemed not to “have felt any obligation to treat me with the respect normally due to a Trustee of an organisation.”

Campaigners Action for Botton trust that the Charity Commission and North Yorkshire County Council will take due note of these extremely worrying revelations of governance irregularities from within CVT.

In addition, Mr Bailey cited concerns that the charity was not listening to or willing to hear the messages coming from “a very broad range of stakeholders”, including the learning disabled themselves, and stated “that they need to reconsider their strategy in relation to the development of these particular communities”.

CVT has been hitting the headlines recently over its unpopular policy of forcing segregation on learning disabled residents, separating them from their volunteer Co-worker families, some of whom they have lived with for decades. This policy has torn apart long-standing intentional communities across the UK, and will see the learning disabled isolated in unfulfilled living situations they did not choose and do not want. What’s more, it had become the subject of a detailed Letter Before Action from Bindman’s solicitors who believe that there are multiple breaches of the residents’ human rights.

Both the learning disabled, and able-bodied volunteer Co-workers who together make up these vibrant intentional communities, have gone on record over recent months alleging harassment, assorted breaches of law*, and a variety of unsavoury and underhanded tactics on the part of management, such as gerrymandering the voting membership, in its attempts force change through without regard to the clear and unequivocal wishes of the community members.

Ridding the Trust of its volunteer live-in community members has drawn no small criticism from the wider Camphill movement and is being resisted on multiple fronts. The Charity has met with opposition from campaign groups attached to different communities, Delrow (Watford), The Grange (Forest of Dean) and founding community, Botton Village, in North Yorkshire. The groups include stakeholders such as volunteer Co-workers, the families of learning disabled residents and the learning disabled themselves who, yesterday at Botton, petitioned the local council and charity management to stop the changes.

Finally Mr Bailey also aired his view that the CVT team entered into the recently failed mediation dialogue with “no genuine intent to find a win/win solution”. He felt CVT plans for the eviction of long standing volunteer Co-workers “it seems, were pre-existing even before the attempted mediation”.
He concluded his resignation “with …. some hope that the ethos and very special unique quality of ‘Camphill’ might somehow manage to survive into the future of the Camphill Village Trust."

Action for Botton wish to place on record their appreciation of Ian for his devoted work for the charity over an extensive period of years. We wish him well in his future endeavours.


About Camphill Botton Village

The Camphill Movement was started over seventy years ago by German/Austrian Jews fleeing from the Nazis at a time of great persecution of the disabled. They did this to give learning disabled adults the chance
1. to live closely with the land and in a beneficial environment,
2. to live in a community where all are equal, irrespective of their abilities
3. to have a meaningful and fulfilling working life

CVT was founded in October 1954 to support the first adult community of Botton Village, which was started by Villagers, their families and volunteer Co-workers as an ‘intentional community’ in 1955. The formation articles of incorporation expressly specify that the charity’s purpose is to establish a community into which the disabled can be incorporated in order that their lives be fulfilled according to the above principles.
http://www.actionforbotton.org/files/CVT_Mem__Arts_highlight...

The community was therefore formed to include and support people with a wide range of disabilities. Those with learning disabilities live with the volunteer (unwaged) Co-worker families in shared family-like households so that they can each be supported to participate in all aspects of community life including fulfilling and meaningful work.
http://www.actionforbotton.org/Botton-Village/living-togethe...

Fundamental to the movement is sustainable farming, and as a result CVT has grown to be the single largest holder of bio-dynamically farmed land in the UK with Botton in particular winning awards.
http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/local-news/honour-for-bott...

The entire community shares all the work in running the sustainable community, according to their abilities and wishes and for the benefit of all. Everyone agrees to these principles when they join the village. The result of this has set a world-leading standard in terms of community living, with Botton village famously leading the way in sustainability.

The community has been based for the last sixty years on vocational volunteer Co-workers receiving no salary, living modestly, pooling resources, having their needs met by the community.
http://www.actionforbotton.org/files/Three_Perspectives.pdf

Since its foundation, the Village has been widely recognised as an exemplar of a sustainable, inclusive community and has been much copied, inspiring over a hundred communities of the Camphill movement world-wide - 75 separate Camphill Communities worldwide and 36 in the British Isles, nine of which are currently CVT communities that grew out of the original site at Botton.

Popular for its caring and inclusive values, Botton Village has attracted generous donations and support from the public over the years with supporters keen to make sure that this unique way of life is continued. Much of the property owned by the charity was offered by the Macmillan (publishing) family, and/or built, bought and/or renovated with the help of donations intended for the purpose of supporting the remarkable community that is Botton that donors know, admire and are keen to support.

Four years ago the appointment of a new management team at CVT heralded a catastrophic departure from Botton’s founding structure and values, with management making repeated attempts to undermine the ethos and core caring principles of Camphill and ignoring the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the charity.
Links to more details on this are below;
http://www.actionforbotton.org/Hijacking-a-charity
http://www.actionforbotton.org/files/Summary_of_alleged_abus...

Pressure group Action for Botton has been set-up by stakeholders including friends, families, former Co-workers and Co-workers to oppose these changes. For further information see
www.actionforbotton.org and http://www.actionforbotton.org/files/Camphill_Values_v2.2_sh...

In December 2014 representatives of the group, which now has more than 3,500 supporters, entered into mediation talks with Camphill Village Trust in a bid to find common ground over the planned changes. Despite several deadline extensions, reassurances from CVT about halting the changes whilst talks were in progress were not forthcoming and the talks did not progress and since then Action for Botton – along with other Camphill communities at Delrow (near Watford) and the Grange (Newnham-on-Severn) have vowed that they will continue their campaign.

Notes to editors

*Laws campaigners say CVT have breached
Human Rights Act
Mental Capacity Act
Harassment Act
Companies Act
Charity Commission regulations

Figures
79 Family members in the families / parents group signed the objection letter
77 Residents signed the petition (the remainder of the 95 were not is a position to sign)
46 Co-workers wrote and objected to the PCS documents
202 In total

Links to additional information
The resident petition can be viewed on the following link;
http://tinyurl.com/n6rngrs

Example letters from residents and families can be viewed on the following link;
http://tinyurl.com/klg9vqr

Example of support messages for the campaign and communications;
Families writing to Camphill Village Trust and to North Yorkshire County Council
many more letters from families and friends of Botton to CVT

Learning disabled residents speaking about their preferences and of being harassed and intimidated
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW5pSTXj2ck&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0G733jMyRo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaarFmsaPAc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekpC76H5VPU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pSwWhsUbLE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI_0sM68DNQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=554ADmyILHw

Recent Coverage
http://tinyurl.com/pkw9llm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgA7_1Sq69g
http://tinyurl.com/lbbcygz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFN5CU78wS8
http://youtu.be/N-5y6EaLOYA

Independent report that outlines the devastating effects of these changes on other CVT communities. The unintentional destruction of intentional communities by Bob Rhodes and Richard Davis, published in March 2014. It is available at;
http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/library/by-az/regulati...

How bureaucrats destroy public services
http://tinyurl.com/k56k37p

Interviewees
Please contact the press office if you would like an interview with any of a wide range of stakeholders including;
Campaigners from Action for Botton including the chair
Co-workers (anonymously) and former Co-workers
Legal experts
Accounting experts
Parents and family members of the residents
Learning disabled residents

Contact Information

Action for Botton
Neil Davidson – Chair
Email: action@actionforbotton.org

Press
Kay Clark
Tel: 0845 833 8292
Email: kay@tru-pr.co.uk

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Action for Botton in the following categories: Business & Finance, Education & Human Resources, Public Sector, Third Sector & Legal, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.