URGENT fundraising appeal to save our communities

Grange Pictures (Che#FDBBEB

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Be part of saving Camphill communities from being destroyed by inappropriate policies which are driving out volunteer families and leaving the residents with impoverished lives.

Legal Action Fundraising Appeal – Letter

Legal Action Fundraising Appeal – Frequently Asked Questions

Communicide: contrasts between authentic Camphill communities and changes imposed by the current CVT regime.

CVT, being oblivious to reason and compassion, have left open only the adversarial approach.


Mediation between CVT and those trying to save the communities has failed. Having been held under ‘Chatham house’ rules we can only pass on delegates’ impression that there is no one of sufficient integrity left at CVT with whom to reason.

The lies are compacted in layers: having lied to parents’ faces that there was never any anti-coworker agenda now the CVT spin is that there is no choice but to get rid of co-workers.

The reality is that since Trustees decided unilaterally to get rid of coworkers and employ managers (a decidedly reversible decision), the hard-won coworker tax and HMRC arrangements cease to apply and an avalanche of rules come into play.

Nowhere do we hear CVT accept that they were either too dense to realise that this was a logical outcome of their actions or that they aimed for this all along. Neither do we hear that this all came about inadvertently and now they are going to wind up their actions and revert to the system that served Camphill Villages so well for so long, because HM treasury has agreed that the previous arrangements remain valid. Nowhere do we hear that CVT’s actions were both unwarranted and then out of all proportion.

Instead we hear the most galling self-justifcation and half-truths from the Trustees and their managers. What alternatives are left open to those for whom the villages and the chosen way of life were an inspiration? Let us see … …

Please contact us if you are local to, concerned or effected by the demise of these communities.

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CVT’s attack on co-working is an attack on Camphill communities and, therefore, an attack on the villagers.


The AGM was a highly orchestrated and tragic farce. The Trustees could be commended for all the hours they put in, for free, and for their ruthless organization. However, they are most emphatically not to be congratulated for the focus of that destructive effort. Were their focus the welfare of the communities of villagers and co-workers and genuine two-way communication then that dedication would be completely praiseworthy. If they have any appetite to be the recipient of that praise then they need to answer, at the very minimum, the following:

  • – When the villagers – those at “the centre of everything we do” – want one thing and CVT trustees want another, why is it that the trustees’ agenda is pushed through and the villagers (and parents and co-workers and international Camphill movement bodies … …) ignored?
  • – Why are the trustees right when 10,000 signatories, the AoCC, Hubert Picarda QC, international Camphill organisations, villagers, parents, co-workers and HM Treasury are of the opposite opinion?
  • – In harmony with which aspect of Anthroposophy, morality, decency and UK law is it to respond to the membership’s enquiry about how to put items on the agenda of the AGM and, when that protocol is followed to the letter, then to forbid those motions a place on the agenda?
  • – How is it in the interests of villagers and co-workers that constitute the communities for trustees to kick all difficult questions and accusations into the long grass?
  • – In what way are the communities strengthened by padding the membership with cronies and rejecting those with other opinions?

The CVT lost their last claim to decency at the AGM. As members called out from their seats, “SHAME!”

Please contact us if you are local to, concerned or effected by the demise of these communities.

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Some of the Camphill community representatives are now in mediation talks with some from the CVT. I wish them luck. This update had been delayed until after the mediation as a good will ‘cessation of hostilities’. It has not been mirrored by CVT. (See Jan 2015 update for news of the mediation failing.)

One good discussion Amongst the sham there was one refreshingly genuine talk after the AGM, with a relative of a Trustee. He made a point which should be addressed. He said that the campaign of Action for Grange and Action for Botton seems to be all about the coworkers and not about the villagers. Whilst the CVT’s mantra is that ‘the people we support’ are ‘at the heart of everything we do’ why, he asked, do we seem to ignore them? What has allowed villagers to thrive for over 50 years has been the unique arrangement known as co-working and what has threatened that wellbeing in recent years is the attack on co-working in the communities by the trustees and their managers. In former times CVT’s headed paper read “Communities of individuals, some of whom have special needs.” The community was nurtured because it is the community that supports the villagers (and the co-workers). The rights of each person in that community were equal – an rarity for a person with special needs, even now. However, due to the inbuilt inequality of the destiny of most villagers, ie the fact that their needs are special, their ability to run those communities alone is hampered. Mindful of the ideal of brotherhood, the co-workers take on the balance of requirements for such communities to thrive. Take away those co-workers and what can be put in their place without threatening equality and brotherhood? The managers have replaced the conscious balancing of these aspects of community – the freedom equality and brotherhood essential to a healthy and dynamic community – and what have they put in its place? Thinking that through should assist in understanding why essentially self-managing co-workers are essential to Camphill villages and why effort is currently focused here. Every other arrangement (eg employed staff and external/imposed management) should be a temporary patch and not an active goal. For those who haven’t had the politeness to find out about Camphill before grabbing the reins, such details cannot be evaluated properly. ‘People who are paid can contribute just as much as those who are volunteers’, managers opine as if it were completely obvious. In a standard business such thinking may be appropriate: a tyre can be changed for another with little more thought in such a mechanism. But in an organism such as a Camphill community a transplant has far-reaching consequences. In the threefold social order one cannot whip out one organ and throw in another without having to suppress the symptoms which emerge. Whilst the management look forward to the day when they can say that the operation is a success the patient is clearly dying. It need not be this way. The Camphill communities would willingly take back their own self-management, or perhaps some ‘managers’ can become the employees of the community of villagers and co-workers, or become a coworker with access to the common pool. Then the Trevett ruling and the HMRC will all be back in the harmonious whole they were until so recently, and any expertise and aptitudes such managing coworkers bring will not be self-defeating. The revolutionary vision of Camphill rejected the self-interest of wages from the very beginning. This is written into the Memorandum of Association. This economic approach is just one part of the Camphill ethos. The spiritual and ecological aspects complement the equality of people with special needs. All these ideals are organically integral and not exchangeable or negotiable bolt-on parts. It is the Camphill founders’ assertion that this best reflects the human condition. This recognises the physical, social and spiritual requirements of those who wish to embrace their full humanity. That is why such communities are a godsend not just for people with special needs but for anyone. Why this has not got through to the Trustees and their managers is a cause for great concern and intense anguish as they destroy the foundations of Camphill. They may present themselves as experts coming in to save a movement struggling to be compliant (they want us to understand ‘legal’ but clearly they mean ‘passive and docile’). They are like all imperialists who don’t have the common courtesy to find out the customs and language of the land they invade before trying to change it. Perhaps that is why they seem bemused to find such pervasive ungrateful resistance. So, relative of a Trustee at the AGM, have a word and inform the trustees that despite their loud assertions that they are ‘Steiner to their toes’, they are not believed. By their fruits … Your relative is one of the untrusted Trustees. That the people with special needs are their central focus is double-speak. CVT’s attack on co-working is an attack on Camphill communities and, therefore, an attack on the villagers. CVT are killing the golden goose, chucking out the baby and the bathwater … pick the analogy of your choice. This is not Camphill. That’s why Action for The Grange’s effort seems to be focused on co-workers. If your ward wants to be minded by a string of shift workers there are lots of places which offer just that. Probably Winterbourne View has vacancies. Camphill villages offered a real alternative and the CVT are energetically making that impossible. You too can resist if that is something that bothers you. It bothers us a lot.

“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.”

Chair of Association of Camphill Communities, 21 November 2014


  Villagers, their loved ones and friends of the communities continue to watch with unbearable sadness as the Camphill Village Trust continues to undermine the communities it was established to assist.

With a propaganda campaign of selective ‘facts’ CVT continues to betray those who once gave them their trust. Even as the UK news shouts out that the care sector needs something exactly like Camphill Villages, CVT’s centres are quietly being strangled. The Trustees had a difficult situation, in great measure of their own making, and then made the wrong choice. That is clear to everyone now – except to them. They press on whilsting in the wind, ignoring calls from all over the world, from thousands of people and from the very people they purport to support and their friends and families. The counter balance to their propaganda requires some time to read but it is clearly set out here. There are ever more witness accounts demonstrating this as people realise that they are not alone in despairing about the activities forced through by the board and senior management team. Perhaps the last chance for the communities and, therefore, for the villagers is for the members, despite CVT having crammed the membership with cronies, to read the current report and then get rid of the present board and senior management team through the processes open to them as members.

Please contact us if you are local to, concerned or effected by the demise of these communities.

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A defining aspect of Camphill has been to separate work and money

CommunardsIf payment is separated from work, everybody has a job. This vocational system has worked for 60 years resulting in zero unemployment and outstanding quality of care. Everybody has a job, everybody is included, everybody can contribute, and everybody has dignity and a stake in their community. CVT managers and Trustees have never lived in Camphill communities and don’t appear to understand or value this.


Another initiative has been launched by co-workers and advisors to get around the table to discuss all the issues with CVT. This “Three Community” (Grange, Delow, Botton) initiative is relatively recent so we must give it time to be considered by CVT. At national policy level many top people in the field have written to the minister to change the whole policy direction that has swept Camphill along with it. In the meantime the co-workers are being told to leave unless they sign a contract of employment. What we have heard about these are that they make no attempt to maintain the shared living and contract-less nature of Camphill as enshrined in the M&As. Indeed they embody the very opposite. Other seriously dodgy aspects include the requirement to surrender CVT membership once employed. The questions about all these aspects have been studiously ignored by the CVT. We will see if the co-workers can hold out with the relentless harassment to which they are being subjected. We wish them strength. The villagers in the meantime have been informed about this change in a meeting with the manager at The Grange. The distress this caused was manifest to all, expressed by many, and no support was made available to the villagers to deal with this distress. ‘Appalling’ doesn’t cover it? The current situation is well summarised here

Please contact us if you are local to, concerned or effected by the demise of these communities.

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The Grange Village Community 1 Camphill Villages are a treasure of our culture but they are under crippling pressure. In this part of SW UK there are two such Camphill Villages called Oaklands Park and the Grange. The former has already floundered into mediocrity. The Grange community is just clinging on to the last shreds of the ideals that made it great. The Camphill Village Trust (CVT) is the body with the legal responsibility for these and seven other English centres. It has a difficult job no doubt, but we consider that it is not doing this nearly well enough. The sacrifice of the foundations of Camphill is not negotiable in our (and top legal) opinion, and so one has to say that our own Trustees have failed. We no longer trust them. The Trustees appointed mainstream managers who either have insufficient understanding or respect for what Camphill has always tried to be, and so they are driving these centres into the ground. Witnessing this transformation of visionary communities of adults, some of whom have special needs, into a demotivated chain of care homes lacking enthusiasm and coherence – this has alarmed enough local people to come together to write to the charity commission and to create this site. Our aim is to be part of the increasing public pressure on the trustees to stop dismantling 60 years of work and to pause, reflect on and act upon what is in its own governing documents, the Memorandum and Articles. If their actions demonstrate that they understand, our opposition will revert to energetic support. However, seeing that there has been no genuine response to private communication, we are joining the growing public chorus that includes Action for Botton, family and friends, members of the CVT, previous members of CVTa leading charity-law QC, the co-workers and villagers who are not too intimidated to speak, and international Camphill centres and organisations (including from Norway, Ireland, UK the Middle Europe group and N American villages and schools) who are all trying to communicate the same message.