A requested representative of charity Camphill Village Trust (CVT) failed to appear yesterday morning before North Yorkshire County Council’s ‘Yorkshire Coast and Moors Area Committee’ for a debate on the crisis at an intentional community, Botton Village.
Representatives from Action for Botton and Botton Co-workers attended along with interested members of the public and Assistant Directors for Adult Social Care Operations Anne Marie Lubanski and Mike Webster who were invited from Council headquarters to answer the questions from concerned community members.
Pam Reeves, Chair of Danby Parish Council and Herbert Tindall, Councillor for Scarborough Borough who lives in Danby, along with a dozen County Councillors heard the concerns of the group, their statements, questions and the answers from the officials. It was recommended that the matter be referred to the Care Committee for hearing at its next meeting on the 24th April.
Campaigners would like to thank the Council officers for their time and attention today and their continuing efforts on behalf of the vulnerable learning disabled members of the Community.
On 17th March the council received a petition signed by over 1200 local residents from within one Ward calling for a report into the health and well-being of the residents in relation to the impending eviction of the vocational volunteer Co-worker (VVC) carers from their communities.
This petition represents more than 1% of the population of the Yorkshire Coast and Moors Ward and was produced in under six days by Botton Buddies – a record time to gain the required signatory threshold - done in order to meet the deadline for participation in the committee proceedings today.
The petition stated:
We call upon the Area Committee to seek a report in preparation for debate into the welfare and care arrangements of the residents of Botton Village in relation to proposed changes to their care provisions, and to determine what the committee considers is their responsibility to the residents of Botton
“We have brought this petition on behalf of the learning disabled residents of Botton Village who had presented their own petition which could not be considered on clerical grounds. We are calling on North Yorkshire Country Council to commission a full report into the health and wellbeing of the residents of Botton Village in relation to the dismantling of their family homes. We are grateful that it’s now on record that the Council is fully aware of the potential impact of these devastating changes, in particular to the relationships and lives of the vulnerable adults it helps to fund”
Posing questions to the committee were:
“Botton Village is seen as an internationally renowned example of progressive social care where real relationships are built in family homes, and residents are empowered by the integral part they play in the community. What value do the members of the committee place in this model, and what can they do to protect it?”
Kathryn von Stein
“The learning disabled residents of Botton Village have enjoyed the greatest possible degree of Health and Wellbeing as a consequence of stable homes, loving relationships, meaningful contribution, and generally a healthy lifestyle. How will the committee ensure the health and wellbeing of the vulnerable adults as these social determinants of their health and wellbeing are being dismantled, without proper risk or impact assessments being carried out by CVT, and what measures will be taken to prevent the emotional trauma and bereavement caused by the loss of longstanding relationships?”
“The minister of state for Health and Social Care has recently launched his "No voice unheard, no right ignored" programme to strengthen the rights of people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions and ensure that they get the best care possible. Direct payments allow those in receipt of social care funding to choose and buy the services they need for themselves, instead of getting them from their council. To what extent do the members of this committee recommend that those people with learning disabilities at Botton Village should be able to use direct payments to choose who provides their own care, and in light of the recent High Court injunction awarded to residents of Botton Village, how can the members of this committee ensure that their voices are heard in relation to who provides their care and support and how they wish to live?”
“A group of 35 co-workers at Botton Village envisage forming a registered care provider as part of their plan to achieve operational autonomy from CVT. What does the committee see as the benefits of separating social care provision from the landlord in a supported living situation and what can be done to assure the members of the council that the care provision is robust and compliant.”
The situation is set against the backdrop of national concern about the treatment of the learning disabled. In a recent BBC interview Mr Lamb relayed that he felt the learning disabled are being ”treated like second-class citizens with decisions being made about them without them being involved and without their families being involved”
Political support for the community’s struggle is growing with concern for the situation expressed by Baroness Hollins in the House of Lords last at the start of the month, over 30 MPs of all political colours writing to ministers to express their concern and the minister for disabled people Mark Harper holding an enquiry at another CVT site in his constituency, The Grange.
As well as nationwide support from sitting MPs two local parliamentary candidates at the forthcoming General Election attended the last Action for Botton public meeting in Danby and spoke up in defence of the Co-workers.
What’s more earlier this month the High Court granted injunctive relief to learning disabled residents represented by Bindmans LLP over breaches of their Human Rights under article 8, the injunction effectively stops support workers coming into their homes prohibits any interference in their Co-worker family relationships by CVT until either a judicial review or the full case can be heard before the High Court itself.
Human rights issues aside CVT is already under scrutiny in multiple areas with campaigners highlighting serious questions about the way the charity is run including a worrying lack of transparency in its accounts which, in spite of requests, has yet to be clarified; a potential conflict of interest with a senior manager whose own company supplies services to CVT for unidentified remuneration; claims of harassment being made to local Police and pending actions for compensation by ex-community members who claim to have been bullied out of their roles and communities.
In addition, last month there was a sudden Trustee resignation citing assorted governance issues including concerns relating to the Articles and Memorandum. Finally a further hearing is scheduled on March 31st in the High Court in a claim brought by campaigners, including parents from one community now devoid of Co-workers, over potential breaches of the charity’s articles and a form of manipulation of membership before last year’s AGM. Interestingly, whilst none of the other nine Local Authorities have done so North Yorkshire County Council recently applied to be joined to this action making them potentially liable for damages as a result of the actions of CVT
One can only wonder how CVT’s Chair of Trustees Felicity Chadwick-Histed, also a Partner at Publitas Consulting LLP can continue to ignore the plight of the learning disabled for whom the Trustees are ultimately responsible.
Notes to Editors
SIDE PANEL 1. – The statement handed to NYCC today at the debate
A Statement to North Yorkshire County Council: Moors and Coast Committee
25th March 2015 - Falsgrave Community Centre
THE CAMPHILL MOVEMENT
In 1940 Dr Karl Konig, an Austrian refugee from Nazi Germany established a small community in Scotland for children with learning disabilities at a time when such children were often given up on, shut away and institutionalised.
At the heart of Konig’s approach were three core ideas or principles
Shared Living :
Living life together - learning disabled and Co-workers - full time - in family style units enabling the building of stable, deep and healing relationships
Sharing the work in the community - each according to their ability - without payment, enabling all members of the community to feel respected , dignified, purposeful and valued
Sharing a common cultural life
through celebration of the festivals and through cultural activities such as singing, drama, and movement.
This pioneering exploration of what we now call HOLISTIC CARE was soon recognised by parents and authorities alike as children began to grow, blossom and express themselves. But as the children grew up, so Konig faced another challenge. How would these children move into adulthood?
THE BIRTH OF BOTTON - CARE FOR ADULTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES
The gift by the Macmillan family in 1953 of the core of the Botton Estate provided the seed for what has become the unique and inspiring community that is Botton Village
A Community, where around 200 people including 100 learning disabled and co- workers live, work and celebrate life together.
A Community which includes
Biodynamic farms and Gardens
World renowned Seed Workshop
Bakery& CreameryCraft workshops
Cultural and Performance Space
A community which for 60 years has operated and developed those core principles first practised by Dr Konig in Scotland
A community which for 56 years has been managed and governed by the community itself and where every member has the opportunity to be engaged and involved
A JEWEL IN THE CROWN OF NORTH YORKSHIRE
Over 60 years Botton has blossomed into a community which:
is now recognised by leading social care researchers as a exemplar of how ‘real holistic care’ can be delivered in the future.
by its very nature and organisation avoids many of the pitfalls and problems of a system where care has becomes an industry, and caring a commodity.
was highly recommended in the Community of Year Award 2008
has become the model for a worldwide movement
has been visited by delegations from all over the world looking for a more appropriate, effective and caring model of social care.
every year hosts 50-60 international Students from all over the world - students who return inspired to their own countries
has been appreciated by hundreds of thousands visitors over the years from North Yorkshire and further afield who have come to appreciate the peacefulness, purposefulness and beauty of Botton Village
is a jewel in the crown of not just of North Yorkshire but of the country
has until recently had the full and unequivocal support of North Yorkshire County Council.
SO WHAT HAS GONE WRONG
In 2011 after receiving continuously positive audits from CQC (Care Quality Commission) Botton Village received a report which made a number of important recommendations for change.
All of these recommendations been met and incorporated and the most recent CQC audits have been positive and complimentary.
In 2011 Camphill Village Trustees concerned about their responsibility for maintaining care quality appointed for the first time a CEO whose previous experience had involved closing down small residential homes in favour of building an integrated residential care provision in Manchester.
Since 2011 Camphill Village Trust have worked to dismantle all of Camphill’s key operating principles.
1. Community Management
CVT have removed the community led management structure in all UK Camphill Communities and replaced it with paid managers typically living outside the community.
2. Shared Living.
CVT have ended family style living in its Communities in the UK other than in Botton Village where this has been opposed, and at The Grange, in Gloucestershire where Co-workers have had it confirmed in mid March that they will not be able to continue Shared Living after 31st March 2015.
3. Shared Working
CVT have removed voluntary Co-workers from all Camphill Communities in UK except in Botton Village where this has been opposed, but there is a doubt about whether new ones actually will be recruited.
4. Shared Cultural Life
The abandonment of shared living and shared working has led to the loss of the rich cultural life in all UK communities and is likely to lead to the closure of the Waldorf School within Botton Village.
The damaging effects of this policy on the health of residents in the Communities where family living and Co working have been removed has been graphically illustrated in the report: Regulation: Unintentional Destruction of Intentional Communities produced by the Centre for Social Welfare Reform.
CVT have consistently argued that they have been forced to take the action they have i.e.
Remove community management
Force Co-workers into employment
End family style living
Care Quality Commission
North Yorkshire County Council
Evidence can be supplied which will show that none of these assumptions is true (see www.actionforbotton.org )
CVT have continued over the last four years to Gerrymander the membership of CVT to
exclude those who most represent its core principles
create hundreds of new voting members who support their policy
The vast majority of Co-workers at Botton have opposed the direct threat on the principles and practice of Camphill clearly set out in its memorandum and articles of association.
After several failed attempts at mediation Action for Botton (a group of local people) have supported legal action by Co-workers and parents against CVT to stop them acting outside the memorandum and articles of association of the Charity.
One injunction has been granted and the second injunction will be heard on Tuesday 31st March. Where an injunction has been granted the CVT must stop the course of action for which the injunction has been granted
The Local Esk Valley Community have provided continual and real support for Botton Village Following eviction notices issued by CVT to co-workers who refuse employment, hundreds of individuals, businesses and churches have offered help in whatever way they can by joining the Botton Buddies www.bottonbuddies.org
The National and International Community have rallied to the aid of this unique community with questions being asked in the House of Lords, an early day motion being prepared for House of Commons and Senior Clergy speaking out on national radio.
This unique and inspiring community is now asking that you as our County representatives urgently review the course and character of CVT actions and North Yorkshire's relationship with CVT in the interests of helping to sustain a social initiative which has pioneered a model which offers a real and positive blueprint for all forms of social care into the future.
SIDE PANEL 2. – Betrayal of Trust summary
CVT is a Trust that was originally set up to hold and manage assets which belong to an intentional community and are held in a state of Trust specifically to be administered for the benefit of that community.
To put it simply, the set-up is comparable to the way that parents might leave monies ‘in Trust’ for their children and have trustees administer the funds specifically for the benefit of those children.
The trustees have a duty of care to make sure that any money is used in the way the Trust says and the trustees MUST make sure this happens.
The Camphill community at Botton consists of both learning disabled residents and the Co-worker families who together create the community. The community includes people of all ages from children to pensioners.
The trustees are given very clear instructions as to how the community should be run particularly about shared living and the support being given freely and not brought in exclusively by employees. The community managed its own affairs and choices internally.
Instead of holding the assets and administering the finances as they are supposed to, the Trust secretly decided to try to get rid of the volunteers and stop shared living. Effectively it therefore attacked it’s beneficiary (the community) and is presently trying to evict community members from the site when it should be supporting them.
This is the equivalent of the trustees of a child’s Trust ignoring what the parents wanted and using the money for something else entirely different. Effectively by, as it were, evicting that child from the family home and by multiple different means trying to prevent the child from benefiting from the Trust Fund whilst disposing of the funds in a manner that is detrimental to the child.
Senior barristers now say that the actions of CVT mean that the Trustees are in breach of trust and acting outside their authority. Specifically they have no authority to evict any community members from their homes which are community assets to be used for the benefit of the community.
The trustees appear oblivious to their potential liability as they are personally liable for the conduct of the Trust. They are called "Trustees" because they are trusted to behave properly.
Christopher John Beckett - Retired
Stephen Stanley Butterworth - Consultant on public to private sector transfers
Felicity Anne Chadwick-Histed - Partner in Publitas
Christopher Cook - Retired architect
Diana Mary Parrish - Part-time educational consultant
Peter Sienbjarnarson - Chairman of Sólheimar community in Iceland
Robert James Thompson - Director of consultancy - specialising in service reconfiguration
Karen Elizabeth Walker - Educational adviser
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
Parents and family members of the residents
Learning disabled residents
CVTs False Claims to the Press
Recently CVT has been making a number of false and misleading claims to members of the press, we should like to set the record straight;
CVTs claims about a ‘Ban on new admissions‘
CVT have consistently claimed that NYCC have placed a ban on new admissions to Botton Village. This is untrue NYCC confirmed that the admissions ban is a voluntary one by CVT. Furthermore on page 32 of their own annual return states clearly that there is no ban on admissions at Botton, it says; ‘The trustees are delighted to report that these improvement plans have been effectively been signed off and the admission restrictions have been lifted in all but the Grange community, which is imminent. This has led to a much improved relationship with local commissioners and we are now developing progressive plans for each of these communities with several new referrals already’. The Grange community is in Gloucestershire and not under NYCCs purview, furthermore their local authority has no ‘ban’ in place. See following link:
Misleading Claims re HMRC and Tax
False claims about HMRC's position on Tax. CVT has deliberately sought to convert Co-workers into employees and has made false claims in order to do this, initially claiming that it was necessary to do this due to changes in tax law, which it now agree is untrue. Furthermore CVT could easily support and facilitate the Co-worker tax model if it chose to - something HMRC has made completely clear in correspondence;
1. In short, there is a technical document which sets out how to determine a vocational co-worker’s income which is then subject to taxation, which can be viewed on the HMRC website (BIM22040). This is still valid as confirmed by the Treasury and HMRC in writing only a few months ago.
2. Many other Camphill communities in the UK, outside CVT, operate the normal vocational Co-worker model, where the community clearly is allowed to continue to exist, perfectly satisfactorily in line with this taxation document.
3. CVT, however, knowingly undermined the existence of community by enforcing changes that it did not have to make - this was its choice and strategy and by ceasing to recognise the communities as separate from the charity and Co-workers as living and working within the community, it has deliberately changed the facts on the ground to eliminate the vocational position. i.e. it is CVT’s choice to try and force employment on the Co-workers
4. CVT stated it wished to employ all Co-workers from 6th April. It produced information which failed to acknowledge the existence of a community and regarded vocational Co-workers as “engaged” as employees. The vocational co-worker would not have any contractual relationship with the charity or indeed the community in which they live and work. HMRC's website states that "Co-workers assist the vulnerable members within each community, living together in houses, sharing money and making joint decisions.”
5. It is misleading to state that CVT would be fined in these circumstances. The “fine” being referred to is the difference the HMRC might seek to recover from the charity if the Co-workers were deemed to be employed by the charity by HMRC in a challenged “engagement” investigation. So yes they could technically be fined and or income tax collected on the deemed employment of Co-workers if HMRC deemed this to be the case in a challenged investigation. This is not the case as the HMRC is clearly stating that CVT “the engager” is stating that they intend to employ - it was not the HMRC who dictated the nature of the “engagement”.
6. Co-workers are not engaged in tax avoidance.
7. HMRC has confirmed that they are presently reviewing their opinion in light of new information supplied to them that CVT selectively did not supply them before their initial opinion was rendered.
A detailed breakdown plus supporting documentation of these can be viewed on the Action for Botton site.
Residents being upset
Claims made by CVT regarding the learning disabled being upset are misleading, they are upset precisely because of CVT's actions for three reasons:
1. firstly because they are not being listened to, their clearly stated opinions are being ignored and
2. secondly because CVT has made reported and very underhanded attempts to gag them and prevent them speaking about their objections to the changes. These attempts include failure to acknowledge their capacity under the mental Capacity Act and banning the press from coming into the homes of the residents when they have been invited by residents and where the residents are lawful tenants. This is a breach of their right to free speech: they are entitled to speak about things they object to and find upsetting.
3. the learning disabled residents know that CVT plans to segregate them from their Co-worker families.
The cause of their upset is CVT’s actions, not the fact that they are able to speak freely about being upset. Action for Botton has facilitated the learning disabled being heard by the media which they have found very empowering and are deeply grateful that someone at last wants to help them.
CVT are being disingenuous in accusing Co-workers of spreading misinformation amongst villagers; please see an analysis that shows how it is in fact CVT that subtly but systematically misleads the most vulnerable in their care. We urge readers to read this example of CVT's deception campaign in the following link and consider how this contrasts with CVT's mantra of 'the beneficiaries at the heart of all we do'.
Claims about Shared living
At no time has CVT ever mentioned to Co-workers, residents or their families that the offered traditional Camphill shared life model is an option going forward. On the contrary managers and trustees have always stated to all stakeholders and the press that this would never be possible for employees, whether former Co-workers or otherwise - they would not be allowed to live in the same households as the learning disabled as a matter of statute; this was emphasised strongly in their correspondence. After the unsuccessful mediated dialogue last December, the CVT CEO did say that he would set up a workshop to explore the possibilities for shared living and invite guidance from an outside group (“Shared Lives”), however, even though he suggested a date for this of Feb 10th the meeting was never held. We are therefore extremely surprised that in recent press statements a ‘spokesperson’ for CVT claimed this was a possibility, however we have no evidence that this claim is true.
Laws campaigners say CVT have breached
Human Rights Act
Mental Capacity Act
Charity Commission regulations
Links to additional information
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
Recent Coverage can be viewed here
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;
How bureaucrats destroy public services
Guidelines about care of the learning disabled can be viewed here
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. The original 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;
About Action for Botton
Pressure group Action for Botton has been set-up by stakeholders including friends, families, former Co-workers and Co-workers to oppose these changes and enjoys the support of 84 Botton parents and family members the majority of the 95 learning disabled residents at Botton as well as over 5,000 supporters locally and worldwide.
In December 2014 representatives of the group 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. For further information see
Action for Botton
Neil Davidson – Chair
Tel: 0845 833 8292
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