The village at war over new way of living

Campaigners James Fearnley and Neil Davidson at Botton village
Picture by Scott Wicking

Campaigners James Fearnley and Neil Davidson at Botton village w142705a Picture by Scott Wicking

The controversy raging over changes to the way Botton village is operated has continued, leaving many residents torn about where they stand.

After the Whitby Gazette revealed how Camphill Village Trust had enforced a series of changes about how the site will be run, the campaign group fighting to ‘protect’ the way of life at Botton said it has received hundreds of messages of support from across the world.

Action For Botton compaigner James Fearnley said: “Since we launched the campaign with website and leaflets there has been over 1,600 pledges of support from all over the world, with very many potent and touching comments.”

Mr Fearnley attended the open day at Botton on Sunday July 6, where he claims a senior staff member took away leaflets prepared by the group which detailed the changes at Botton.

Camphill Village Trust has claimed many residents of the village actually support the changes, which will see the ‘shared living’ ethos of the village replaced with paid carers who no longer live alongside the disabled residents of Botton Village.

Since the Gazette published the article about the changes at Botton, we have received a number of letters.

Among these was a former resident who felt “let down” by the changes, while others suggested Camphill Village Trust has no choice but to make the proposed changes.

The mother of one Botton resident said they have “total trust” in the ability of CVT to make sure that Botton has a sustainable future.

She said: “Our son is a villager at Botton and he has thrived there and has a good quality of life.

“However, he is an adult and it is insulting and demeaning to compare him and other villagers to a seven-year-old child as the campaigners about Botton did.

“Even though he has learning disabilities he is still capable of making decisions and choices about his life with appropriate support and guidance.”

The woman, whom we have allowed to retain anonymity on this occasion, said how her son’s right to make his own decisions is enshrined in the Mental Capacity Act, and said he has the same emotional needs as every other adult.

She added: “Co-workers are there to support and guide and share their lives where appropriate. They are not there as a substitute Mummy and Daddy.

“I and my husband are my son’s Mum and Dad.”




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