Below the line are emails in response to this site. To these you might like to add the 10,000+ messages at Action for Botton, Campaign for real care, and 38 degrees. Contact us if you would like to add your own comments


 

Anonymous

Following the recent Visit by coworkers and other residents from Botton Village to Downing Street to petition against changes being made by CVT, I have the following concerns.

In a statement released to BBC Radio, CVT states that HMRC say the arrangement for coworkers can no longer continue.
However HMRC has previously stated nothing has changed regarding the the tax arrangements for coworkers being classed as vocational workers.

CVT stated that they have no choice but to implement these changes. However, At one of the Camphill communities a document was sent to the residents stating that HMRC Agreed with …” the decision of CVT trustees” that legally coworkers need to become employees and this need to happen by April next year.

Clearly CVT has admitted to perusing this course of action which is not true to its founding principles.

Why? I am concerned about its motives for doing so. Why have CVT continued to state it is the decision of the HMRC ? It is concerning that that CVT continue to misrepresent the view of HMRC in this manner

The press release went on to say coworkers do have a choice to become employed or real volunteers, and continue the life they and the people we currently support live.

Coworkers want to remain living with residents, CVT has served eviction notices to coworkers! In several Camphill comunities there are no coworkers – Oaklands park being one. Is this to be the future of all CVT Comunities ?

Why are the people they support handing in petitions to government and persuing legal cases against CVT.?

Due to the continued contradictions between the statements issued by CVT and the opposite course of actions it then takes, I feel CVT can no longer be trusted to represent the wishes of its beneficiaries responsibly .

I therefore am raising my concerns with Mark Harper MP Minister for people with disabilities and David Cameron PM.

Sean Gilde

I whole heartedly support the aims and aspirations that are trying to be achieved by Action for the Grange, in the context of the wider issues faced by Camphill Communities from the Camphill Village Trust.

Anita Bennett

It was wonderful to read of your formation. All of our family is hoping that the existing managers and trustees will be persuaded to resign. Camphill is too precious to be left in the hands of secular materialists who run roughshod over the acquisitions of many decades.

Jane Coomber

Stop changing these as they work PERFECTLY well as they have always done.

Mark McDougal

Steiner was explicit in education, only the educators were to be managers. Same here.

Michael Babitch – ex co-worker

Courage! 

Anonymity requested

I have witnessed the devastating effects of CVT’s relentless attempt to turn Oaklands Park and The Grange Village into residential care homes. There has been no consultation with the very people they say they are supporting. Instead CVT have told them what is going to happen and when. Residents have been reduced to tears when told co-workers are to leave the homes they share and will be provided with flats or pay offs or paid employment all based on the so called Ruling of the HMRC which has been proven to be untrue!!

One resident told myself and another, “I feel so isolated there is no one at home.” Another statement: “They’ve taken our pigs away and animals ” ( the farm which residents and families have fund-raised for and sits in the heart of the Grange is now rented out privately and residents are not allowed near it???) “I don’t want it to change, I want it to stay the same.”

Several employed workers who have worked at Oaklands Park have stated it is just a residential home. “We worked 24 hour shifts. It’s too much.” One resident from Oakland Park who was always joking told me whilst working at the George Cafe: “We used go to the Grange. A bus went twice a day but not at all now.” This man now talks about what other people can and can’t afford and could not look at me whilst talking?

So much for maintaining community. I have, over the years that this process has been taking place, noted conversations and effects on all the members of the communities and believe it has contributed to the isolation and the deterioration in everyone’s well being.

No consultation with the residents or support (only from the remaining coworkers), no one appointed to represent them in any of the communities. In my view this is a total disgrace! I therefore fully support the call for the resignation of Huw John and the current CVT board.

I remain anonymous for obvious reasons but relevant parties know who I am, and I am happy to represent the residents above if needs be!

Jan Herbertson

I have just read the 12 page letter on behalf of the Camphill communities. I am dismayed by what I have learned about CVT. I certainly didn’t have a good opinion in the first place! Put very frankly they are a group of lying, devious and clever people. Also very greedy.They appear to be determined to change the Camphill communities into a money making machine. I am furious! Months ago when I first read about the whole sad business in the Guardian I sent
donation to Action for Botton. I am interested in the communities as I have friends with Downs syndrome children. A community is the ideal place for families with adult children, giving them so many benefits and giving the aging parents peaceof mind about their children’s future lives. This is extremely important. I do hope that this will all be resolved and all the communities can restore their way of life.

I did ask for a membership form from CVT but was sent a letter full of ‘officialese’ which said I could not be considered for 6 months as they were so busy..a delaying tactic so that I could not vote for true Camphill values which I believe in, I am sure, having read the letter. If there is anything I can do please let me know, I am elderly and live in Shropshire so not a lot from here but I am willing to write, sign petitions, anything to help.

With all my best wishes and hopes for a happy ending.

Guy Alma

It is time for sanity to regain its position in the organization of CVT. All is far from lost but a new beginning is needed. Camphill is as relevant as ever to the world and it is a living body of communities that simply cannot be managed from afar with techniques learned from corporate culture. The last few years have provided ample proof of the fallacy of this approach. All over the world, self governing Camphill communities that live out of Anthroposophy are providing meaningful lives for people with and without disabilities based on social threefolding and spiritual striving, whilst being compliant with national regulations. Botton, the Grange and Delrow are communities that should be given back their rightful place in this movement and helped to undo the damage that inappropriate management techniques have done to them.

Martin Horne

I am gravely concerned for the future of Camphill Communities, in a time when we need them most. The original spirit and ethos of these communities, where people of all nationalities and disabilities live side by side, is being eroded by short-sighted action by the CVT.

Victoria Stevens

I fully support all the Camphill communities and those who wish to continue to life share. I hope that the CVT will stop trying to force these awful changes upon you and that you may return to the co worker model. Don’t give up.

Julian Assirati

I fully support all actions that are intended to halt the destruction of a caring community. Having worked for 30 years with people with special needs and mental health and behavioural issues I am fully aware of the unique benefits this village community has offered to everyone touched by its collective caring hands.

Andy Vivian

I am a member of CVT, I live in Newnham and have supported the two local CVT villages for many years. I was for a time on the Oaklands Park LMC. I applaud your support for the co-worker ideal and your aim to preserve shared living at the Grange, (even at this late stage).

Rachael Hawkins

I live in Birmingham but have extended family who live in Grange Village. About two years ago myself, my partner and children started to look into the possibility of moving into a community and becoming house parents. We do not wish to be carers on minimum wage who go home after our shift but wanted to become community members. Sadly this is no longer possible and we are watching with interest (and anger) all the changes and destruction of a wonderful way of life. Although I am unable to travel to the Grange often I would like to lend my support in anyway I can.

My family feel let down by the CVT as they have stolen Camphill Communities from future generations.

Christine Reyneke-Frey

I do not condone any of the CVT trustee’s actions that have so irreverently disregarded and undermined the wonderful contribution Camphill has made to social care in the UK (and world wide) over the past 80… years. It is true that Camphill has to align and bring upstream some of it’s practices and procedures so as to be able to offer competitive and realistic life choices for all its members in the 21st Century. However, it must not be underestimated how progressive and valid Camphill work-and life-sharing models have always been – on a social, economic and environmental level…

Bob Rhodes

Lots to share, given our continued campaigning following the publication of the ‘Regulation …’ report I wrote with Richard Davis (published by Centre for Welfare Reform) and my membership (trustee) of the group that is working to wrest Botton Village away from CVT. I didn’t think that CVT could stoop much lower but their HR Director’s statement to Private Eye about Co-Workers Tax Affairs as a “sweetheart deal” and reference to Co-Workers’ expenses as ” a flagrant misuse of public funds and charitable monies” takes the biscuit. People who don’t understand, treasure and defend to the death the nature of Intentional Communities have no place in positions of power in the Camphill Movement. It’s time to stop being reasonable and abused!

Rachael Penny

I am concerned about co-workers being evicted and keen to see the Grange continue to work in the way it always has.

Anna Fedden

Grange Village and Oaklands Park are intrinsic to Newnham, and the CVT ethos in the past has always been seen as brilliant. I and lots of others in Newnham fully support the co-workers in trying to maintain the original vision of the communities.

Sid Phelps

I have seen the wonderful work undertaken at the Grange and am saddened that the ethos is not understood or appreciated by the new regime. There must be a way to avoid losing the baby with the bathwater……

Vickie Manning

I fully support the wonderful work at Oaklands and The Grange. Our village community is undoubtedly enriched by these homes in terms of the residents, the care workers from around the world and the contribution of the farms, the workshops and cafe and most importantly the humanity shown to the residents and the quality of life and home they are given and their interaction within the local villages. Please keep the ethos.

Mike Penny

The way these communities are run makes such a valuable contribution to the Villagers lives. I am deeply saddened to hear that all this good work will be lost and so much distress will be caused. I will miss all those happy smiling faces.

Paul Manning

Saddened to see the effective bulldozing of these two unique communities. The Charity Commission surely cannot stand by and let this happen.

Kate Baugh

My uncle had Downs Syndrome and it was always a matter of anxiety that he would be treated with humanity and respect. Do the parents and relatives of residents know of the changes? I am sure they would suffer great unhappiness and concern to know of the change to a more institutionalised regime – most likely the situation they wanted to avoid for their loved ones.

Viv Nutt

I would like to support you in preventing the demise of the Camphill communities in Gloucestershire.

Dr Ian Smith

I am a GP in the Forest of Dean and live near to 2 Camphill Village Trust sites and have been informally involved with them in the past (through playing music at events). I have seen the great care and enjoyment they have had from shared living with co-workers. I believe that moving to paid employees is unlikely to achieve this level of  care and is a direct threat to the original ethos of CVT.

Steve Wates

I spent much time at The Grange with my partner Janine (House Parent in Wayside) and also helped with the “Momo” theatre production. Surely Camphill Communities have a protected status as they constitute an “Established Way of Life” This is the same category as Gypsies and Travellers; “People with Learning Difficulties” are entitled by Law to continue to live in this manner, to which they have become accustomed, for over half a century because they are a vulnerable minority group.

Peter Assirati

The management and trustees are destroying Camphill’s very soul. They do not understand or care what Camphill is about. There seems to be a coordinated and systematic attack on Camphill. I am an ex house parent at The Grange and have supplied holiday cover at Botton and Oaklands.

Sylvia Beryl Gordon 3

Dear sirs and madams please read this letter and stop the CVT trustees and council from turning our villages into care homes, and to listen to what the villagers and co-workers and guest volunteers are saying to them! Yours faithfully

Sylvia Beryl Gordon 2

I am adding my name as a signature to the letter being sent to you by the Grange Village and friends  I was a grange Villager 40 years ago, I left the Grange in the 1980s and then I went to live in Botton Village for 23 years, then in 1995 I came to Delrow camphill community to live. I have lived here for 19 years and about a week. I am 70 and 3 quarter years old. Yours faithfully

Sylvia Beryl Gordon 1

I am a resident who lives in Delrow camphill community. I once lived in The Grange very many years ago, and I worked in the pottery with Erika Opitz. What the camphill village trust CVT trustees are doing to all of our villages is very wrong. The charity commission should check on what it is telling the CVT. to change in the running of its centres. Also the CVT should honour its memorandum and do what it promised the camphill villages when it was started with Botton Village, and not change them into state run care homes! Yours sincerely

Diedra Heitzman

I thoroughly support these efforts, As a former short time resident of Oaklands Park, the changes that have occurred are nothing short of a tragedy!

Peter Kramer

Please add me to the letter of signatories as a member of the CVT, who does not feel represented by the trustees and its managers.

Annie Reid

I fully support this action and letter to The Charity Commission. I am a former member of The Grange LMC.

Ms. Sue DuBois M.I.P.D.

Just to justify my understanding of both sides here goes – I am a staff training and development professional – now retired -Greenwich University of 16 years. I have run Youth Training Centres in London. I have run many Management Training courses at university and worked in many public and private sector organisations for Investors in people. I trained G.C.C. staff at The Archdeacon Centre. I have a comprehension of the standards based approach. I have worked as a consultant for CVT developing a case for a vocational training centre offer trainees certification. I have trained a number of past CVT staff in assessment procedures and action planning plus training insight. I have worked with CVT Oaklands, The Grange and Taurus for many years through Arts showcases and Community Events. I am an ex Parish Councillor and have nothing but praise for the very valued part the people who work and live at The Grange play in our village and beyond.. Through Arts organisations I have successfully run in the Dean, I have always sought to integrate the practical and the creative work CVT maintains with that of the greater Village community of Newnham on Severn. Other organisation have always successfully worked with The Grange and Oaklands and Taurus. CVT co-workers have always ensured their client group become more independent within the realms of their supportive Care and gradual Vocational training for work . The ethos of Rudolph Steiner has been an initial influence but by NO MEANS followed slavishly or in any unorthodox manner. A creative approach to team building, working together, living as families and healthy living are all parts of the Grange Care package. As they are in many Care Institutions. Standards are high, are evaluated, meetings and paperwork updated. PLEASE consider Mediation with the existing hard driven staff as a matter of urgency. I am sure that Social Services and CO- Workers can exist side by side for the good of all. X.