Monday, 12 January 2015

Camphill Communities: Candle On The Hill

The Camphill Movement is a worldwide initiative for social change inspired by Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophy. Camphill communities are residential life-sharing communities and schools for adults and children with developmental disabilities (called "learning disabilities" in the UK), mental health problems and other special needs, and they provide services and support for work, learning and daily living.

Camphill in England and Wales has 23 centres including independent residential and day schools, specialist colleges of further education and adult communities where individual abilities and qualities are recognised and nurtured as the foundation for a fulfilling life.

The holistic integration of food production, horticulture & animal husbandry, community living, education and therapy is a shining light leading the way for the top- down impersonal & fragmented systems of care currently on offer through state provision.

Pennine Camphill Community
Camphill England & Wales
Camphill Worldwide

UPDATE 4th Feb 2015

Just over 2 weeks after posting this blog Channel 4 did an article on Camphill Communities called Unique learning disabled community at war over modernization. In particular it focused on Botton Village Camphill Community in North Yorkshire and the disagreements there over implementation of new Health & Social Care legislation. The video is worth watching (follow the link). Apart from the wranglings over mishandling of money, shared living & new management protocols, it struck me that the holistic model of care, exemplified by Camphill, is fundamentally being eroded by the encroachment of legislation. Its not all bad. Some workers say they now get paid for unrecognized labour; some residents feel more appreciated by individualized care plans with greater focus. But it seems to me the situation is not one of “either/ or” but “as well as” and the best of the individualized care plans can be incorporated into the Camhill model. For as the bean counters surely will atomise, scrutinize and subject every aspect of care to work- time studies in a never ending aspiration to “efficiency” (in reality reducing expenditure on human beings), the holistic aspects of care, which is far more than the sum of its parts, will suffer. Imagine a continuum with Camphill at one end representing Holistic models of community care and empowerment, and traditional Social Care institutions at the other representing the will of the bean counters. Which would you prefer to be reliant upon?

Some more Camphill resources: A 15 minute extract on Vimeo from Jonathan Stedall's trilogy Candle on the Hill, made in 1989 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Camphill movement (well worth sourcing the full videos if you can).


A Candle on the Hill: Images of Camphill Life (1990), a survey, in words and pictures, of Camphill life throughout the world, helps to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Camphill movement by Cornelius Pietzner (Editor)

By North Utsire

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