Botton Buddies Aim for 500 Supporters As Campaign Grows


Botton-care industry newsThe campaign to save Botton Village has gained significant backing over the last few weeks successfully galvanising both local and worldwide support.


The Botton Buddy scheme – launched in early March – has really taken off with nearly 350 individuals already “matched” to provide support to specific Co-worker households.


A meeting is being held this Saturday (April 18th) at 9.00am at Danby Village Hall when all buddies will be updated on the campaign before going on to deliver leaflets to encourage further recruits in the Esk Valley.  For further details see


James Fearnley, the scheme’s founder and organiser, said – “Our target is to reach 500 Buddies and I am very confident we can achieve it as the response so far has been phenomenal. As well as individual Buddies, some 30 businesses and Churches are also supporting us.  We have the backing of retail outlets and organisations both from this area and stretching as far as York. The Buddies are just not prepared to sit back and see the unique and world-famous community at Botton destroyed.”


The Buddies connected with the Botton households provide help in a number of different ways including transport and financial help as well as food and moral support, including prayer.  The food deliveries are currently important as Camphill Village Trust has now withdrawn the food books from a number of Botton houses, whilst a new food distribution system has yet to be implemented.


Anne Stringer adds, “I am a Botton Buddy because for over 20 years I have been in great admiration for all who live in Botton Village and all that they have created living together. The Villagers, special needs people, are warm hearted and friendly which owes huge credit to the Co-workers who take care of them.  I want to do everything I can to keep this exemplary, exceptional, extraordinary way of life, please join us and become a Buddy”.

“As parents of children attending the on-site Steiner school, on a daily basis we see first-hand the amazing way of life that Co-workers have created for Botton residents.  We feel very sad that Botton residents may have their unique loving family and very special way of life taken away from them and replaced with institutionalised care.  From previous work experience and seeing just how sterile institutionalised care is, we feel it is only right to support Botton residents and help them preserve their chosen care and way of life by becoming Botton Buddies to Botton Co-workers” say local ‘buddies’ Martina and Matt Hinds.


James Fearnley added “The Buddies are building a valuable extension to the Botton community and creating relationships which can provide support way into the future.  The scheme shows what can be achieved when a local community feels outraged about something that is happening within its boundaries and is determined to fight back.”


This campaign is set against the backdrop of national concern about the treatment of the learning disabled, with the launch of the Green Paper by Care Minister Norman Lamb MP ‘No Voice Unheard, No Right Ignored’.  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”.


As well as nationwide support from sitting MPs, the Action for Botton campaign has also attracted support from the Labour and Lib Dem parliamentary candidates at the forthcoming General Election who attended the last Action for Botton public meeting in Danby and spoke up in defence of the Co-worker model for the Villagers.


Labour candidate Ian McInnes commented: “I first visited Botton during the Open Days over 25 years ago. Where there once was peace there is now anxiety. It shouldn’t be like this! I have been communicating with Labour’s Shadow Ministers and they are keen to have an understanding of the issues involved”. He added “Action for Botton, the Co-workers, Villagers of Botton and local community are all working together in a spirit of solidarity and I am delighted to be able to offer my support.”


While Mike Beckett for the Liberal Democrats, said: “Intentional communities are a way of life and any changes to them should be resident-led and not imposed without choice.  When you impose something on somebody with learning disabilities without their informed consent, that is classically abuse.” He continued “In addition, the wishes of local people should be taken into account in a consultation which involves a community as important as Botton.”


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 director whose own company supplies services to CVT for unidentified remuneration; claims of harassment being made to local Police and pending actions for compensation by former 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.


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.



  1. Just wanted to say how grateful we are as a family for the support you are giving to the co workers and villagers of Botton who are so committed to saving the current way of life they have. My brother John has been there 33 years and we are so happy with the level of care and wonderful ethos that all are equal there which CVT seem to be on a mission to destroy. Let’s hope the co workers and their supporters win out in the end but what a shame it has even come to this.

  2. We can not thank you enough for recognising the plight of Botton Village and the Camphill way of life, that is now under threat of changes we regard not appropriate .Our son , who has autism has lived in Camphill for more than 26 years. We choose this way of life for him, knowing for him to be secure and happy in a family home living alongside dedicated co-worker house parents , who were trained with a deeper understanding in how to care for him and create beautiful homes as to provide a healing environment for our family member. We also choose Camphill for his education and for him to explore his creative talents further in drawing, woodwork, weaving , pottery, glass engraving to a professional standard. Items we use daily in our household. We have experienced and observed the focus the co-workers held on this beautiful way of life and so wished for other vulnerable people to experience this who have been failed by the system somehow. Of course there will always be changes , but modernisation does not always mean appropriate for people with special needs if this does not envisage that deeper understanding they need, Camphill co-workers have provided for over 60 years, or what is required to give them a meaningful and a fulfilling life at home and work.
    We feel it is a night mare of what is happening now and worry for our sons future. We assumed he would be secure in Camphill for the rest of his life. Not so ! We have a formidable mountain to climb and to be heard loud and clear! Surely, it is obvious that Camphill offers a family way of life close to what we have , and surely the Board of Trustee members also would regard family life as a fundamental need in their own personal lives , as we need food to nourish our bodies. So why not for people with special needs? Why do they choose to overlook this obvious right? Is it because their jobs might be on the line?

  3. Thankyou for covering the developments in the worrying story of Botton Village.
    As a youngster I have visited and volunteered there many times. Having gone on to work in care myself later in life, I can truly say that the dedication, quality of care and vibrant sense of a community of equals, is unequaled. It is incomprehensible why CVT is determined to dismantle this unique way of life when there is no compelling need to. All the reasons they have given so far turn out to be untrue under closer scrutiny.Is this just a case of severe tunnel vision?

  4. How sad that yesterday the High Court found against vulnerable adults in favour of the charity that is abusing their human rights.

    No doubt the judgement was reached on a meticulous reading of the law and cannot be faulted on that score, but what the vulnerable person hopes for is to be given the living water of justice, not the dry husk of law.

    • the disabled person is in great need of understanding and protection. By the way they are NOT a commodity where those with the salaries can suck them dry.
      We want to see the high court deal with this through compassion and a bit of humanity please. Is it that the disabled are not wanted any more?? are they a nuisance to society? They have come to earth to teach us how to be true human beings and not grabbers.

  5. Thank you Jackie for reporting on the plight of Botton Village residents and their concerned families. This is a simple case.

    Most importantly, the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of the beneficiaries of the charity do not agree with the changes being implemented by CVT.

    The changes are not imposed by any of the associated ruling bodies (NYCC, CQC, CC).

    The core principals of the charity (family living with volunteer co-workers and equality) is at risk.

    In my opinion the solution is simple: undo the changes CVT have recently implemented to ensure full compliance with the HMRC agreement. Other Camphill communities and HMRC would surely provide advice and assistance.

    Please CVT – I appeal to you even at this late stage to revert back to the core principals of the charity and truly put the beneficiaries at the heart of all you do.


    A spokesperson for the learning disabled claimants said: “We are obviously very disappointed at today’s decision in the High Court however feel this is only a temporary set-back in the midst of growing political and personal support”.

    “It is a great pity that our community has had to endure months of stress and uncertainty as we have fought to preserve the ideal of a non-segregational way of living which, we feel, Camphill Village Trust is determined to discard.

    “We believe they have the right to a family life like any other citizen and will continue to campaign and appeal this decision and fight the apartheid being artificially imposed upon us”.

    “CVT’s stated reasons for making the changes seem to alter regularly. They have stated it is because of an increasingly rigorous regulatory and legal climate surrounding looking after the learning disabled – whereas previously it was because of the changed nature of the relationship between the Co-workers and the charity. A change CVT engineered by altering working practices on the ground so as to create a hierarchical management structure which is contrary to its own prescribed ethos”.

    “We very much welcome CVT’s stated commitment to ensuring that all those at Botton – including those members of the community who have battled hard for so long against the new regime – will have a closer role in shaping future life at Botton. Nevertheless we find it unlikely as it was previously volunteered by CVT in early December 2015 however nothing has happened over at least five months”.

    The spokesperson also confirmed that a separate case before the Chancery Division of the High Court was currently unaffected by today’s decision.

    Contact Information

    Action for Botton
    Neil Davidson – Chair
    National Regional
    Kay Clark Richard Graham
    Tel: 0845 833 8292
    Tel: 01765 640736

  7. Thank you for publishing this tragic situation.

    As I see it, the bottom line is — does CVT really have the disabled person “at the heart of all we do”?
    If so, let it be judged on its actions not its PR spin.

    The voice of the disabled villagers concerning the way of life THEY choose to live is neither heard nor honoured by this ‘charity’. Yet CVT is compliant with every care regulation; fulfils all its contractual obligations and so on and on, ad nauseam. But the reality, the outcome, for a vulnerable adult is the chill breath of corporate conscience.

  8. Yours seems to be the only specialist publication prepared to go into depth about the real issues involved here. Thank you for all your honest reporting. Why is no one else doing this? Is it because of fear of CVT? As one of the country’s largest charities, it should be the subject of far more concern to the care industry press. Let’s hope more good journalists like yourself will take up the suggestion above, to talk to villagers and their family advocates, the majority of whom want to see Botton remain a community and not become another care home.

  9. Thank you for running this story on Botton Buddies. It is a scheme entirely in tune with Camphill core values and very heartening to see it supported by people locally and from further away.

  10. Thanks to Care Industry News for keeping up to date with the Botton story. There’s a reason why more people every day are signing up with Botton Buddies, and that’s because the more the familiar discredited mantra from CVT is trotted out, the more it becomes obvious that there is something to hide.
    All the facts can be found at
    Keep up the good work!

  11. Thank you, Jackie, for running this story and for continuing to draw attention to the situation in Botton. The Botton Buddies Scheme has shown just how much support Botton has in the local and wider community; it is heartening to know that people appreciate exactly what shared living and the co-workers contribute towards making the learning- disabled residents there feel valued, supported and part of a real community. The low tactics employed by CVT to try to dismantle Botton by replacing live In co-workers with shifts of care workers without consultation with all concerned parties, need to be exposed, and they are quite rightly coming under close scrutiny in the press, the public eye, and in the High Court. Their reasons for instigating the changes they seek to impose need to be questioned. The government is currently highlighting the lack of choice that the learning-disabled and those with mental health problems have about their own care. They say that they are being treated like second class citizens. CVT have not listened to the views of the vulnerable people that they are meant to support, who want to continue with shared living, and have caused untold distress to them and their excellent carers in the process. Let us hope that, in future, there will be flexibility and room in social care regulation for the successful and inclusive model of care that Botton and other Camphill communities have been providing for so long. In this community, shifts of paid care workers are not necessary or appropriate; let the residents of Botton continue to live valued, dignified and happy lives sharing homes with the people whom they trust and regard as family.

  12. Thank you Jackie and Care Industry News for writing about the very sad situation happening right now in Botton Village.

    It’s heartbreaking to witness such a beautiful community being dismantled for no reason other than money, power and very much so what many believe is a personal grudge of a Trustee.

    A business decision wouldn’t go to these depths and at some point an organisation would say it’s time to call it a day. Not CVT as this CVT Trustee will fight to the death so to speak.

    And whilst this personal grudge and hatred continues to play out, Botton residents and their wishes are being ignored and many are anxious and very stressed right now.

    7 co-workers and 5 children now have no access to money, food or food books and CVT have now said out of fresh air that they are now liable for their own council tax.

    Please consider running further articles Jackie. Keep shining a huge big light on this despicable charity’s behavior for the sake of Botton disabled residents! They are the real victims.

    CVT have no option now other than to go.

    Thank you again!

    And for all readers, please consider becoming a Botton Buddy

    And to read the full complicated and sad story of Botton

  13. Thanks for dis enlightening article. Obviously the author was well informed.
    I am going to subscribe and read more of these.

  14. Excellent article and thanks for publishing. It’s great to see a steady increase in coverage fighting back against the lies that CVT constantly tell.

    Keep up the good work!

  15. Thank you for highlighting the plight of both the villagers and co workers in Botton village. I hope they can continue to live in peace in this intentional community and that the CVT do the right thing.

  16. Thank you Care Industry News for sharing informations about the situation here in Botton. I’m a young co-worker and I can say the Botton Buddies give us lot of support in many ways and first an emotional one. Please keep talking about the situation and how it evoluates, communication is really important to help the Botton Community as we need to preserve this fabolous shared living way of life. Thank you again Care Industry News 🙂

  17. Thank you for another great article highlighting the plight of Botton and it’s learning disabled residents and all the other member of this fantastic community! I live miles away in Edinburgh, but have visited several times and have been so impressed with the way the place is run. It would be an out right tragedy if this way of life had to be changed because of the silly notions of the CVT. The more I read about them, the more I feel concerned. I have joined Bottonbuddies and I hope many more people will do so too!

  18. Thank you, Jackie, for writing again about the plight of Botton and for highlighting the Botton Buddies Scheme, which has demonstrated the strength of local and national support for keeping the shared living model, that will allow co- workers to continue to live with and support the learning-disabled residents in this wonderful community. Thank you also for bringing the low tactics that CVT are employing in this dispute to the attention of the care industry. Set against the backdrop of growing government and public awareness of the second class treatment of those with learning disabilities and mental illness, it is even more vital that CVT’s attempts to dismantle this intentional community, and their real reasons for doing it are brought under scrutiny in the public forum and contested in the High Court.

  19. It is heartwarming to see the level of support in the local and wider community for this pioneering social care community. Political interest is mounting too; there are many MPs around the country calling on the CVT to work with the authorities to restore Botton to a coworker led model of care. This is going to be a election issue and the Labour and Lib Dem candidates are publicly supporting the wishes of the learning disabled residents of Botton Village who want to be allowed to carry on living with their coworker families.

  20. Thank you to Care Industry News for continuing to highlight the sad situation current in Botton Village. Let us hope, that sometime soon, CVT will to listen to the view of the majority rather than squandering vast sums of charitable money on top down management and a vastly expensive pr company.

    • Today’s story has been re-tweeted several times and by some big organisations with a lot of followers. I hope this and the continuous campaign has an impact on the ensuing court case.

      • Jackie, thank you for highlighting the crisis in Botton. To have an industry publication write about the story gives hope in a time of great uncertainty. Keep up the good work, and if you would like to speak to some of the residents about their views there are many who would love to talk to you. The CVT has imposed a media ban on anyone coming to the village who hasn’t been invited by their PR company, but you could meet with residents outside the community.

        • Hi Eddie

          Your comment regarding the media is very worrying. whilst I completely understand the fact that some residents may have difficulties that must be understood and respected, they also live in a free society and should be free to express themselves without control from any organisation other than the law.
          the very fact that the invitation should come from a PR company says it all.
          what exactly are they afraid of?

          • No one should be stopped from talking to the press if they have the capacity to do so. A person with a learning disability should have the same rights as we all do to invite the press to the home where we are a tenant. Two Botton residents have recently been allowed by the CVT to talk to the BBC but only in a set up that was stage managed by Furner Communications, the new PR company that the CVT has engaged at a colossal cost to propagate their mistruths.
            The offer of interviews still stands, but you would have to meet the residents outside the community as the BBC has been forced to do many times.

          • Hi Jackie,

            Nearly all interviews with the media and Botton residents and co-workers have been done at the local vicarage in the next village. The wonderful vicar Michael has made his home available on so many occasions now that I have lost count.

            Surely the public should spot by now that every time a story goes out on MSN that CVT and the same old faces/parents (and there are few) are trotted out in front of the camera in the comfort of one of the beautiful houses sitting on comfy sofa’s.

            And then on camera are Botton residents and co-workers all being filmed at the vicarage as CVT from the start banned the media from coming into Botton to speak with residents and co-workers.

            Some residents claim that CVT have told them not to speak with the press or attend vigils or demonstrations. This is very worrying. Threaten and gag those who dare to speak out.

      • Our thanks to Jackie Brooks for helping us bring the truth to light.
        We have been misled, misinformed, messed about and deceived for 4 years now, and that is just the families of Botton.
        The majority of Villagers have been upset in one way or another, some of them to a great degree, resulting in negative physical and emotional side effects. One of the great advantages of a community like Botton that gives people a respected place in their community is that all beneficiaries lead healthier and more fulfilled lives than many others.
        The way the coworkers have been treated is quite simply unimaginable.Most of us don’t know how they have survived for so long and of course many haven’t, there must be 50% who have left the Village now.
        It doesn’t matter what CVT’s CEO MR Huw John tells us and everyone else about how they will keep the Camphill community feeling alive.
        I judge a person by their actions, not their words, and CVT’s last 4 year record based on that is dismal.

  21. Firstly I want to thank you so much for drawing attention to the plight of Botton Village and its residents. I attended Botton Village Steiner School many years ago and can truthfully say that Botton is the most important place in my life. Many of my best memories, best friends and most important values come from the time I spent there. It is an absolutely beautiful place where true equality exists and everybody lives a rich and fulfilling life based on sharing and love. It is a beacon of hope for the future of care, an example to anybody and any institution who are truly interested in caring for the most vulnerable people in our society. I am proud to say that I am a Botton Buddy and will be in this fight for as long as it takes to reclaim Botton and see it returned to people who stand for its core values. It is currently in the hands of people whose abuse of power and charity money have reached Orwellian proportions and we need to do everything to save it. Come and join us at


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