Home is where the heart is. In Camphill we know about the sense of security and belonging that is generated through a nurturing family life. Our communities are composed of households that offer people a set of close, dependable relationships. This gives them the confidence they need to explore the wider environment, tap into their creativity and make a contribution to the wider community.
This is my home and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
quoted in Care Inspectorate report on Newton Dee, 2018
In Camphill, home life has three dimensions:
A typical Camphill household includes two experienced house parents, two or three young volunteer co-workers and two or three residents. Everyone has their personal space but also enjoy a strong common life. An important part of this is shared mealtimes. Mealtimes give everyone an opportunity to share their experiences of the day, or simply quietly draw strength from shared food and companionship. Good food is a big part of life in Camphill and we believe in healthy, fresh home cooking.
Many people comment on how clean, tidy and beautiful Camphill homes are. You will see flowers, paintings and lovely objects created by community members. This kind of care and attention demonstrates the value we place on our shared spaces.
The interior decoration of Camphill houses often reflect the changing seasons, for example branches decorated with seasonal ornaments. This helps give a sense of our connection with the natural world and, for people with autism, may help orient them to the passing of time.
Living as a large family group in houses helps everyone and makes everyone feel important and needed.
quoted in Care Inspectorate report on Loch Arthur, 2018
The students took part and had responsibilities with regard to everyday household tasks and duties. We saw that they took great pride in their home and it was kept very clean and well maintained.
Care Inspectorate, Camphill School Aberdeen (Cairnlee) 2020
Everyone sat together to enjoy meals in a very sociable and relaxed atmosphere. We saw that where people needed support, it was carried out discretely with tenderness and respect.
Care Inspectorate, Beannachar March 2020
The Village Community
In Camphill, when people step outside of their homes they do not encounter a collection of strangers but a genuine community of people who care about each other. It has been fashionable for many years to talk about care in the community. All too often, however, ‘care in the community’ leaves people isolated, stressed and vulnerable, without the network of support they need to truly be more independent. The village community provides a secure network of relationships that helps people gain more freedom, take risks, and try new things.
All Camphill communities strive to create that combination of warm familiarity and bustling activity that characterises the ideal village life. Each community does this in different ways depending in part on their size and location. The larger communities occupy sizeable areas of land and some have farms, a range of workshops, cafes, creameries, bakeries and so on. The smaller communities may not have similar physical resources but they have the same spirit and imagination and express this in a range of creative ways.
He lives a fulfilled life in the community. His contribution is valued. His needs have been recognised and supported.
quoted in Care Inspectorate report on Loch Arthur, February 2020
We saw an environment which encouraged development of independence, where everyone had a purpose and was involved in the day-to-day running of the service. We could see students had real pride and enthusiasm around what they were accomplishing.
Care Inspectorate, Beannachar 2018
The Wider Community
Our communities have varied and strong links with the world around them. Many people come to our communities to take part in the workshops, to enjoy the food and drink provided in the cafes, watch the plays we make and buy the produce available in the shops. The Loch Arthur community have won many awards for their produce and cafe; they now have a thriving social enterprise attracting hundreds of people to the community each year.
Equally, our residents are busy in the wider community too. In the Tiphereth community, for example, members are busy collecting garden waste and delivering compost and firewood in the Colinton area of Edinburgh.
Students were involved in a wide variety of activities both on site and in their wider community.
Care Inspectorate, Beannachar March 2020
People in a Camphill community are not shut away in an institution, quite the reverse. It’s their choice to be part of a community, with all the belonging, sense of purpose, learning new skills, having fun… etc… that we know so well! I like to think of our son’s community as a village, particularly as so many people come into the community from outside, as well as vice versa.
Sue, parent, Camphill Blair Drummond