A UNIQUE project in which people with learning disabilities live in self-contained communities with their carers and volunteer helpers is facing “commercialisation,” general union Unite said yesterday.
Camphill Village Trust community in Botton, North Yorkshire, is home to more than 230 people, including 100 with learning difficulties.
It has existed for 60 years and is one of 20 in Britain and 100 worldwide.
Unite said that trust managers wanted to change the ethos of the community by bringing in low-paid workers from outside and disposing of volunteers.
Unite Community, which represents people not in conventional or regular employment, has recruited 70 Botton workers and residents.
“The residents have looked to Unite to help them protect their way of life from commercialisation,” said Unite Community Yorkshire co-ordinator John Coan.
Eighty per cent of Botton’s residents have signed a petition calling on trustees to reverse its plans and reinstate Camphill’s founding principles.