What’s in a Name?Type: Consultations | News
Topic: Camphill | Care regulation | Disability rights | Policy and legislation
Published on: 24th July 2017
Camphill Scotland has written to Scotland’s Census about the way Camphill communities are categorised for the purposes of the national census. We think they should be categorised as ”˜intentional communities’ and not ”˜communal establishments’ as they are at present. This is an important issue as the census data is used by national decision makers to plan services for people with a learning disability and other support needs.
Problems with the current categorisation
The category of ”˜communal establishment’ places Camphill communities alongside prisons and hospitals. We believe this may support significant misconceptions about the nature and purpose of communities and, most importantly, the status of those who live there.
The census information is used by policy makers to plan services for people with a learning disability. It is therefore vital that they are categorised in a way that avoids misconceptions about the level of participation and independence achieved by those who live and work in Camphill communities.
Fostering independence in community
Camphill communities are chosen by people because they want to share their lives with others. They are not ”˜building-based’. Rather, they are thoughtfully composed collections of living spaces and communal areas including cafes and bakeries, often over sizeable pieces of land. Camphill continues to support people with sometimes quite profound disabilities to take part in community life and thus achieve a much higher degree of independence than would be the case if they lived alone in a flat somewhere.
Camphill was built on the principle of inclusive community long before it became part of mainstream social policy. If communities are wrongly categorised as some kind of ”˜institutional care’ this does a great disservice to the contribution of Camphill in fostering participation, individual choice and self-expression.
Proud to be part of an intentional community network
We believe the phrase ”˜intentional community’ would better reflect the reality of life and work in Camphill. There are other intentional communities in Scotland such as L’Arche, the Iona Community and Findhorn where people choose to live and work together. We believe all of them deserve a collective name that more accurately reflects their purpose, values and contribution to society.