Buddies scheme attracts ‘valuable’ support to Botton

James Fearnley (centre of pic) founder of the Botton Buddies scheme, with protestors from Action for Botton
James Fearnley (centre of pic) founder of the Botton Buddies scheme, with protestors from Action for Botton

More than 350 people have signed up to a scheme aimed at providing co-workers at Botton with a support network amidst proposed changes to employment and living arrangements in the village.

The Botton Buddies scheme, which was only launched a month ago, has organised its members into groups that take responsibility for assisting individual co-worker homes.

Traditionally, volunteer co-workers and their families have lived alongside learning disabled residents at Botton.

Camphill Village Trust, the charity which operates the village, is proposing to end the long-standing shared-living arrangement and wants to make all volunteer workers paid employees.

The prospect of these changes being implemented prompted James Fearnley, founder of the scheme, into action.

Mr Fearnley said: “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 happening within its boundaries and is determined to fight back.”

The Buddies connected with households in Botton provide help in a number of different ways including transport and financial help as well as food and moral support, including prayer.

Mr Fearnley added that he was hoping to recruit even more Buddies and also revealed that support for the scheme stretches well beyond the local community.

“Our target is to reach 500 Buddies and I am very confident we can achieve it as the response so far has been phenomenal,” he continued.

“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.”