Follow Simon Caulkin on Twitter



Article Archive
2019
February
January
2018
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2014
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2013
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2012
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2011
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2010
December
October
September
2009
November
October
June
May
April
March
February
January
2008
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2007
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2006
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2005
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2004
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2003
December
November
1998
January
1997
January
1996
February
1994
May


Botton: the fight goes on

Tue, 5th May 2015

A year ago, I posted an article about the struggle for the soul of Botton Village, a remarkable but unconventional ‘intentional community’ of some 200 learning disabled and volunteer ‘co-workers’ living and working together in a tucked-away hollow of the North Yorks moors. I won’t retell the full story here, but in brief the issue is one of baby and bathwater: can a successful but unusual 60-year-old care model survive a box-ticking, politically correct care world, and in particular the attentions of its own management, drafted in from outside to make Botton and Camphill Village Trust’s other communities look more ‘normal’ to its funders and regulators?

It’s a perverse and tragic case of an organisation divided against itself. While most organisations would die for the kind of passionate support that the Camphill model engenders among its beneficiaries and their families, CVT managers seem bent instead on extinguishing the ethos of shared living and collaborative management that is the source of that commitment. Changes have been pushed through that leave co-workers feeling marginalised and in some cases bullied, with the result that many have left, in effect turning some CVT communities into little more than standard care homes that are certainly easier to manage according to a conventional rule-book but show little trace of the founding Camphill principles that have spawned successful communities all over the world or of an increased happiness dividend in return – in fact the reverse.

Here’s the nub. Running a community full of vulnerable people with complex needs is a daily balancing act. Ensuring that residents are safe and winning the confidence of regulators and funders are obviously essential. And that, as regulators confirm, has now been achieved. But as supporters insist, what makes Camphill unique – and why it arouses such extraordinary passion – is what it does beyond keeping residents safe and ticking funders’ boxes. That extra is largely provided by the co-workers and their families ‘who made Camphill what it is’. ‘Camphill is more than the sum of its parts, and a system that only feeds the parts isn’t going to get the X-factor,’ says a parent. Being discretionary, however, the extra can’t be summoned up by management command, and it can’t be accessed at all by those who don’t understand or empathise where it comes from. ‘Putting non-sympathisers in charge is a bit like installing an atheist as archbishop of Canterbury’, says another relative. What were the trustees who appointed them thinking?

Hence today's impasse. But residents, parents and many co-workers have not changed their mind about what they value, nor are they giving up on Botton, the centre of resistance, without a fight. Although the story has been studiously ignored by all the national press save The Guardian, Private Eye is on the case (listen to Heather Mills’ excellent podcast summary here), and a vigorous Action for Botton campaign group has drummed up vociferous local and national support as well as the interest of 30 MPs, including care minister Norman Lamb and David Cameron. Green MP Caroline Lucas has put down an Early Day Motion on Botton for debate in Parliament.

The campaign groups have also taken the matter to court. To simplify, while one case arguing that CVT’s actions amounted to a breach of Botton residents’ human right to family life was rejected, a separate agreement with a ‘reluctant’ CVT reached in the High Court at the beginning of May allows a modified version of shared living to continue pending formal legal mediation, due to take place in the next two months. If mediation fails, the High Court will hear a claim by 23 claimants that CVT trustees are acting ‘ultra vires’, that is exceeding the powers allotted them in the charity’s Memorandum and Articles, by attempting to abolish shared-living and collaborative management arrangements contrary to the core principles that the board is supposed to nurture. Legal concern has also been expressed over whether the charity’s membership roll has been used to influence voting and over the opacity of its finances. In giving permission for the case to go to court, the Charities Commission voiced disappointment at CVT’s refusal to accept mediation until compelled to by the authorisation of court proceedings.

Where does that leave things now? The CVT management juggernaut has certainly been slowed, and the slap on the wrist by the Charities Commission may represent a cautious change of attitude by a body that in the past has shown more interest in protecting its own back than underlying principles. But the momentum hasn’t been halted, and given the utterly different operating philosophies of the two sides, it’s hard even to imagine what a negotiated compromise might look like. So lengthy and expensive litigation is a real possibility. Meanwhile the war of attrition on Botton’s way of life goes on, with unsettling daily consequences for those least able to resist or cope with them.

The stakes are high, and not just for vulnerable individuals and their families. As well as a tragedy in its own right, Botton is a microcosm of public service caught between a defensive, regulatory state on one side and voracious commercial outsourcers on the other, both focused on delivering the same mass-produced, lowest-common-denominator services at minimum cost. What price then a frugal Camphill that circumvents these constraints by adopting a diametrically different approach; where residents think of their communities as families, not care homes, and co-workers qualify the 24-hour care that they in effect provide not as work but family life? If Botton didn't exist, it would have to be reinvented.

Doubtless without intending to, CVT's trustees landed the charity in today's awful mess. The coming mediation gives them a chance to put it right. By changing their minds and standing up for what they must know in their hearts to be thr right thing for the individuals in the charity's care, trustees and CVT management have an opportunity also to raise the standard for a better, more human kind of public service – a worthy update of the ambition of Botton's founders in the first place.

 


<< Back to Index

User comments

guest :: 5th May 15
Why does no one try to find out why the trustees are condoning CVT's actions
guest :: 5th May 15
It is the trustees and the management they installed who are doing the damage. The trustees should be replaced but they gerrymandered the membership so that it includes only their supporters (though why those people support the trustees is a puzzle).
guest :: 5th May 15
This is an excellent article that summarizes the position admirably; should be reproduced widely.
guest :: 5th May 15
Excellent article here that explains what really happens in the kind of community that Action 4 Botton want, and the kind of mess picked up by the Charity Commission, CQC and other bodies. https://thelauraexperiment.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/that-time-i-ruined-friendships-by-telling-the-truth/
guest :: 5th May 15
Excellent perceptive analysis. The Trustees unwittingly caused the problem. The Management will only change if their paymasters, the Trustees, firmly instruct them to do so. Mediation must be with the Trustees and the Trustees alone. They must either co-opt additional Trustees who understand what this article is about and then change direction, or resign en-mass with dignity allowing a fresh restart. Otherwise expensive litigation is inevitable.
guest :: 5th May 15
I'm not sure Trustees have been doing this "Unwittingly". Still IF they have acted ultra vires they carry personal liability--should be a sobering thought for them. Excellent article.
guest :: 5th May 15
By “unwittingly”, I mean in 2011, the Trustees had no appreciation of what fell outside keeping residents safe and ticking funders’ boxes, or why this was so important to beneficiaries’ well-being. By 2013/14, their appointed managers were telling them this could all continue be delivered by employees at lower cost with greater “control” as part of supported living, and they felt powerless to challenge this. Maybe other managers would have behaved very differently, but the Trustees simply chose the wrong managers, and then failed to oversee them. Yes, the Trustees may well have personal liabilities. Which they may avoid if they step down now.
Mark Moodie :: 5th May 15
Thanks Simon. I'm delighted that you've kept in touch with this after your first equally excellent and pithy summary. As to how this will resolve: with the crystal ball on the blink I'm guessing that another treasure will be sunk because 'the good is the enemy of the excellent'. Or perhaps the Trustees will be upright enough to admit that their chosen way is not in anyone's interest. Then the living treasure that is Camphill will have to find a way to accommodate itself to the future without compromise of its essence. But - main thing - thanks for your articles Simon.
guest :: 6th May 15
One certainly wonders where the Trustees are in all this. Completely side lined, it would appear, by Frances Wright, Hew John and Felicity Chadwick-Histed, I imagine. Please make sure the trustees get to see the article. Hopefully Action for Botton can arrange that.
guest :: 6th May 15
Another clear exposé. Will the trustees reflect with satisfaction at the end of the day that they were personaaly responsible for the demise of a wonderful intentional community?
guest :: 6th May 15
Thank you for taking up this very nuanced issue with the thoughtfulness it deserves. The real tragedy is that the trustees could have reached a compromise with Botton's stakeholders at any point in the last year, had they not been so intent on a 'shock and awe' corporate victory. Even now, a compromise would be possible if those controlling the charity could countenance eating just a little humble pie. It is simply heartbreaking for those of us close to events to watch helplessly as the clear wishes and best interests of Botton's 100 learning disabled residents are simply steam-rollered. How many more tears must be shed?
guest :: 6th May 15
Thank you for this thoughtful summary of the issue. The trustees and management are both responsible for the dismantling of this successful intentional community.
Simon Caulkin :: 7th May 15
Thank you very much for all the comments. It's annoying that we can't get the national press to take an interest, but will keep trying. Please let me know of developments I should know about.
guest :: 8th May 15
Simon - I used to enjoy your newspaper columns, but since your lost your column and in light of the rubbish you are now writing, I do wonder how much of your former material was actually by you?
Henning Sieverts :: 9th May 15
Curious piece of negativity, "guest". I can assure you that Simon has always written his own stuff; how could it be otherwise? His has been a very consistent viewpoint over the years, usually wise and always very well-presented and well-informed.
guest :: 10th May 15
Well informed. Give over.
guest :: 10th May 15
A superb article. Accurate and concise. Please continue to follow the events unfolding at Botton and the other communities. The public must be fully informed.
guest :: 11th May 15
Such a shame you can't be bothered to find out the facts Simon. You used to be a journalist rather than just a blogger.
guest :: 12th May 15
at last a well balanced point of view. many thanks. The choice is between an old fashioned cheap care system, as you say in the article, or an innovative alternative, Camphill.
guest :: 13th May 15
Good article, thank you. i would say though that 'guests' remaining anonymous can also give the impression that it may only be a few that are placing their comments here, repeatedly. The level af approval would be undoubted if we would have to attach our names to this. So here is mine: Wilfried Bohm, Cape Town, South Africa
Hes Boch :: 14th May 15
What a good and very clear article on this complicated situation. You describe very well the ticking boxes attitude of government regulations and the care industry, and the 'extra'that Camphill provides. This 'extra'is hard to pin down, but once you visit one of these places, you know. Living together as fellow human beings creates a totally different relationship, attitiude an quality of life than providing care on a commercial basis!
Reginald J.Batts :: 15th May 15
Camphill places around the world are characterised by a kind of shared ability to spot a person's potential. Go visit: the so-called learning-disabled villagers have LEARNED to become economically useful workers, some of them highly skilled. The work areas include glass-engraving, clean milk production & cheese-making, market-gardening and certified seed production, weaving & soft toy making, forestry and wood machining. However, the economic functions can only be maintained in the community setting where they were developed, supported by the shared family life and the rich social & cultural life. Central to the wholeness of the model is the status of the co-worker. You could pay someone to cut the grass, or clean the lavatory, even to teach eurythmy or astronomy or ornithology; but you can not put a monetary value on the human relationships, the human interaction, the life-long friendships. Self-governance is the essential pre-requisite for this all to work, as proven over a 60-year evolution. CVT, you'
RJBatts :: 15th May 15
And the latest: The Botton Village CVT managers have been pouring the daily milk production, about 1100 litres, down the drain rather than use the services of the skilled cheese-maker, because he's spoken out on behalf of the disabled Villagers!
sWDgLtcOur :: 3rd Mar 17
order ambien can i take ambien if i took xanax buy ambien online ambien during pregnancy 2015 ambien without prescriptions ambien lawsuit 2012 buy ambien flagyl ambien cheap ambien online ambien side effects staying awake buy ambien online overnight what will one ambien do ambien 10 mg trazodone vs ambien for sleep order ambien ambien effects with alcohol discount ambien ambien with zoloft side effects ambien online no prescription ambien online Cary buy tramadol online tramadol 50 mg about buy tramadol online tramadol withdrawal symptoms crying buy tramadol online tramadol rozpuszczalnoЕ›Д‡
uCMogMrgFf :: 5th Mar 17
buy ambien get ambien Wyoming cheap ambien online can ambien be taken with gabapentin buy ambien online ambien m z2 buy ambien buy zolpidem online Montgomery buy ambien ambien mixed with beer zolpidem 10 mg ambien cr and klonopin ambien online dark ambient music download free ambien no prescription ambien and myasthenia gravis buy ambien getting off ambien with trazodone ambien online pharmacy can valerian root be taken with ambien buy tramadol online tramadol tablets 20mg buy tramadol online length of tramadol withdrawal symptoms buy tramadol online tramadol tablets overdose
FMWeFOAmsJ :: 6th Mar 17
buy ambien can you take morphine and ambien ambien 10mg pengujian udara ambien can you buy ambien online what is the maximum safe dosage of ambien order ambien ambien 40 mg dosage buy ambien no prescription emsam ambien buy ambien online can u overdose ambien cr ambien 10 mg what makes ambien addictive ambien online ambien and food binging zolpidem 10 mg ambien oxycodone erowid buy ambien online ambien and homicide buy tramadol online detox off tramadol where to buy tramadol online obat tramadol untuk penyakit tramadol generic tramadol q contiene
UVUBfwsfDi :: 7th Mar 17
buy ambien dosage for ambien cr buy ambien online ambien memory loss long term ambien order does ambien make you groggy in the morning buy ambien ambien coating buy zolpidem ambien Wichita Falls buy ambien online will an ambien kill a dog buy ambien no prescription ambien out of pocket buy ambien ambien and opiate withdrawal buy ambien online ambien generic drug ambien online ambien and amitriptyline interaction buy tramadol online no prescription parachute tramadol buy tramadol online ultram online Evansville buy tramadol is tramadol opiates
dEbPWNFHvQ :: 8th Mar 17
ambien sale zolpidem buy Lafayette ambien 10mg ambien cr prescribing information pdf ambien online no prescription can you combine ambien and melatonin ambien price what ambien pill looks like buy ambien is it okay to crush ambien buy ambien online can't sleep ambien not working ambien buy shouts and murmurs ambien cookbook ambien 10 mg sleep aid ambien side effects ambien online can i take seroquel and ambien together buy ambien no prescription ambien cr class buy tramadol online without a prescription oxycodone 5-325 and tramadol tramadol 50mg can you bang tramadol hcl buy tramadol ultram tramadol hcl
xZEYLAKCbd :: 9th Mar 17
buy ambien xanax alcohol ambien ambien medication lunesta after ambien buy ambien how to break ambien dependence buy ambien does ambien show on drug test ambien 10mg does ambien cause colon cancer order ambien zolpidem Greensboro order zolpidem ambien muscle recovery order ambien ambient noise generator cheapest ambien does ambien really make you sleep buy ambien online como se dice cuidar el medio ambiente en ingles tramadol online no prescription can you take antihistamine with tramadol buy tramadol cheap no prescription tramadol subutex withdrawal order tramadol online giving dogs tramadol side effects
HcBAIUabcL :: 10th Mar 17
ambien generic xanax vs ambien buy ambien online ambien vs generic zolpidem tartrate buy ambien ambien and elderly buy generic ambien online zolpidem buy Moreno Valley buy ambien buy zolpidem Everett ambien no prescription ambien dosage reduction buy ambien can you take valium and ambien at the same time buy ambien online does ambien come in a liquid form ambien 10 mg medicine similar to ambien ambien 10 mg can i take naproxen with ambien buy tramadol online is it safe to take tramadol with citalopram buy tramadol cheap ta med tramadol fran spanien tramadol 50mg dose journaliere tramadol
Taupels :: 30th Sep 17
purchase dissertations dissertation editing service buy dissertation custom dissertation writing services cheap dissertation help sample dissertation topics dissertation services dissertation dedication examples phd thesis proposal example professional dissertation writing sample dissertation paper phd writing service phd proposal writing service thesis proofreading service dissertation writing services usa thesis paper samples leadership dissertation topics dissertation topics in educational leadership thesis proofreading service dissertation proposals examples thesis statement examples dissertation assistance service custom dissertation services dissertation writing services legal how to write a thesis dissertation topics in management dissertation title page what is dissertation proposal custom thesis writing service custom dissertation writing services buy thesis paper order a dissertation how to write a phd proposal dissertation
Taupels :: 2nd Oct 17
phd dissertation writers thesis statement examples for essays how to start a dissertation dissertation template dissertation formatting do my dissertation dissertation help free mba thesis writing services doctoral thesis topics phd dissertation template dissertation service affordable dissertation writing services dissertation sample pdf how to write a dissertation literature review sample of dissertation doctoral dissertation proposal sample thesis writing tips thesis editing rates phd dissertation topics dissertation sample dissertation writing service uk free dissertations online thesis essay example what is dissertation writing how to find phd topic dissertation topics in education dissertation formats doctoral dissertation topics business dissertation editing dissertation services phd dissertation topics doctoral dissertation topics editing thesis what is dissertation research dissertation writing coach thesis writers serv
installmentloans :: 2nd Oct 17
unsecured personal loan rates installment loans best debt consolidation company reviews [url=https://installmentloansmaster.org/]installment loans online[/url] loan to consolidate debt
installmentloans :: 3rd Oct 17
apply for loan online with bad credit online installment loans quick cash loans near me [url=https://installmentloansmaster.org/]installment loans online[/url] $2000 loan
installmentloans :: 4th Oct 17
loans for single moms installment loans unsecured bank loans [url=https://installmentloansmaster.org/]installment loans[/url] cosmetic surgery loans
installmentloans :: 4th Oct 17
easy loans for poor credit installment loans personal loans for bad credit direct lenders [url=https://installmentloansmaster.org/]installment loans[/url] fast loans today
installmentloans :: 5th Oct 17
loan up 1 installment loans personal loans for bad credit with low interest rates [url=https://installmentloansmaster.org/]installment loans[/url] how to get approved for a personal loan
CliftonEngam :: 5th Oct 17
how can i get a loan with no credit installment loans how to get a loan without a cosigner [url=https://installmentloansmaster.org/]installment loans[/url] cosign loan
CliftonEngam :: 5th Oct 17
fresh start loan installment loans fast cash loans with monthly payments [url=https://installmentloansmaster.org/]installment loans[/url] installment loans in columbia sc
Taupels :: 10th Oct 17
essay writing on air pollution help with essay papers need help solving algebra problems religious studies homework help help with dissertation writing essays master dissertations/writing a masters dissertation length assignment sheets write me essay bottleneck assignment problem write my essay student critical think custom essay writers really cheap cheap college essays dissertation and thesis database how to write critical thinking mathematics writing center ucla writing center appointments writing center appointments ucla writing programs ucla writing programs
cnructwSen :: 21st Mar 18
[url=https://bitcoinstock.us.com]best bitcoin trading platform[/url] how do you invest in bitcoin bitcoin investment calculator
Adchdloaby :: 22nd Mar 18
http://dkjshye7s632.com I am usually to blogging and i really respect your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I'm going to bookmark your site and preserve checking for brand new information.
excprmoSen :: 22nd Mar 18
[url=https://bitcoinstock.us.com]where to trade bitcoin[/url] bitcoin todays price digital currency stocks
tujvbunord :: 22nd Mar 18
[url=https://buybitcoin.us.com]how to buy bitcoin[/url] trade bitcoin bitcoin stock
tzeqlcpPn :: 22nd Mar 18
[url=https://howtoinvestinbitcoin.us.org]bitcoin trust[/url] real time bitcoin price investing in digital currency
zapicatSen :: 22nd Mar 18
[url=https://bitcoinstock.us.com]bitcoin stocks to invest in[/url] bitcoin stock bitcoin stock
qqdbhliPn :: 22nd Mar 18
[url=https://howtoinvestinbitcoin.us.org]buy bitcoin[/url] how do i invest in bitcoin trade bitcoin online
ywdzvunord :: 22nd Mar 18
[url=https://buybitcoin.us.com]how to trade bitcoin[/url] bitcoin price today how to trade bitcoin
Aaotyloaby :: 22nd Mar 18
http://dkjshye7s632.com Good day! I just wish to give an enormous thumbs up for the great information you have got right here on this post. I will be coming again to your weblog for more soon.
tykxhwpPn :: 23rd Mar 18
[url=https://howtoinvestinbitcoin.us.org]bitcoin trade[/url] bitcoin penny stocks bitcoin investment trust
Name:
Comment:
Check:4+2=