Camphill Village Trust

Camphill Village Trust director of communications Andy Payton & Chris Taylor with president Scott Wolstenhome

Camphill Village Trust director of communications Andy Payton & Chris Taylor with president Scott Wolstenhome


The Camphill Village Trust support adults with learning disabilities and mental health problems

This week we learned about the Camphill Village Trust, a long established charity supporting adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems and other support needs. Andy Paton, their communications director came to the Club to explain, and brought with him Chris Taylor, a resident at one of the Trust’s houses in Malton.

The Trust has an interesting history. It was originally founded by an Austrian doctor, Kark Koenig, with a group of young helpers, all fleeing persecution by the Nazis in 1938. Dr Konig had experience in working with learning disabled children, and established a residential setting on land donated by the Macmillan publishing family on the Camphill estates in Aberdeen. He viewed the children as social refugees, cast out of society in the same way as he and his co-workers were political refugees.

Once established, the Trust went from strength to strength, and now supports people with disabilities in their home life, work, social and cultural activities through nine urban and rural communities in England. The ethos is to support independence, rather than inculcate reliance on institutional life. One of the communities is at Botton near Whitby, with 27 houses and 4 farms, supporting 100 learning disabled adults. Another one is the Larchfield community on the edge of Middlesbrough, where 50 people come in to workshops on day placements. Camphill Trust clearly creates nurturing environments, where the emphasis is on encouraging real creative work.

Each of our communities - through our person-centred approach in which support is tailored to each individual's needs - provides opportunities for personal growth, fulfilling work, friendship and social interaction, education and training, and cultural and spiritual inspiration. Everyone receives the support they need to participate fully in the life of our communities and their surrounding areas. Above all we value what each individual brings to the communities in which we live.

We are grateful to Andy and Chris for coming to the club and informing us of the charity’s inspiring work. I’m pleased to say that chef Ian at Sandmoor excelled expectations with the braised duck, and Chris enjoyed the Golden Best bitter.

Members might like to know that Andy e-mailed me the next day and said

Just to say thanks for the warm hospitality shown to Chris and myself last night. Chris thoroughly enjoyed the night and was chatting about it all the way on our foggy drive back to Malton. Please do thank all your fellow Rotarians and extend a warm welcome to them if they ever wish to visit a CVT community when the weather picks up.