Shared living to continue at Botton after agreement reached at High Court

Botton residents Geoffrey Spackman, far left, and Clare Burge, second from right, with co-workers Eddie Thornton, Fionn Reed, Mark Barber and Lydia Gill-Waring, celebrate a positive outcome from their High Court case
Botton residents Geoffrey Spackman, far left, and Clare Burge, second from right, with co-workers Eddie Thornton, Fionn Reed, Mark Barber and Lydia Gill-Waring, celebrate a positive outcome from their High Court case
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There was positive news for the community at Botton this week after it was confirmed that shared living arrangements between residents and co-workers have been guaranteed for the immediate future.

This development comes as a result of an agreement reached at the High Court today (Wednesday) between campaigners from Botton and Camphill Village Trust.

For the last 60 years, learning disabled residents in Botton have shared their homes with volunteer co-workers and their families in a unique shared-living arrangement.

Camphill Village Trust are seeking to implement changes to the way it operates and make the volunteers paid employees, a move that will force them to live seperately from the residents.

More than 80 per cent of the learning disabled villagers living in the Botton community had signed a petition urging North Yorkshire County Council and Camphill Village Trust to let them continue to share their homes with the co-workers.

Today’s agreement ensures the villagers’ traditional way of life will be maintained for the duration of the legal dispute before the court.

An undertaking between the parties had previously been agreed at an earlier hearing on March 19, and this more comprehensive agreement will now be in place while outstanding legal matters are resolved at the High Court.

Responding to the agreement, Neil Davidson, chairman of Action for Botton, said: “Our aim has always been to ensure that the learning disabled residents should not be forcibly segregated from their existing co-worker families as these plans were obviously causing them great distress.”

A separate legal hearing in the Queen’s Bench Division between a number of learning disabled residents and Camphill Village Trust over alleged breaches of human rights is set to start on April 15 and is unaffected by today’s agreement.