Camphill Foundation Annual Report 2012-2013

Report given to the Annual Assembly of the Camphill Association in UK & Ireland

Meetings were held at Newton Dee in June 2012, Camphill Milton Keynes in November and Delrow in March 2013. At Easter the trustees were sad to hear of the sudden passing of Rob van Duin, a current and founder member, and are deeply grateful for his immense contribution to the work of the Foundation over the years.    

The policy and procedures have been amended so that projects no longer need to seek regional approval for applications, which can be made directly to the Foundation. The aim of the Foundation has been to maintain and increase its sources of funding and extend its public profile in order to attract new donors. It aims to promote the image of Camphill in the UK and Ireland through its activities and to broaden awareness of the wide spectrum of Camphill endeavours.

The website contains a wealth of information, text and visuals representing a strong cross-section of life throughout the Camphill Association. It also showcases some of the most innovative projects which demonstrate how Camphill is actually doing very well to keep pace with current trends in social care and supported living, meeting the different needs of young people, adults and the elderly. The element of support for environmental projects is also strongly featured.

A conscious task is to help promote the Camphill ideal of not categorizing people with special needs as service users but as equals, a chance to show the world that people with learning disabilities in Camphill have great abilities to offer, leading a fulfilling life and doing meaningful and productive work in a community setting which they have chosen and which is right for them.   

There has been a slowdown in donations to the Foundation along with a considerable increase in the loan portfolio and cash reserves are down. The grant-making policy of maximum 20% of total cash reserves affects the extent to which the Foundation is able to give support. A loan was made to The Journeyman Centre (Carrick-on-Suir) to tide them over until a donation from Singapore came through and this is now fully repaid. The scheme provides facilities for about 10 day attendees and some trial visits. The Botton Mystery Drama production received a grant.

The Harbour Community group planning elder care in Thornbury has now changed its focus to a new co-housing project in Stroud but the research which the Foundation funded has proved to be very useful in the longer term, also to other groups. In Aberdeen a co-housing project is also being considered as part of the Simeon development. A grant was given to the co-ordinating team of Ways to Quality to investigate options for establishing a legal form in the UK, which is now done. The Foundation might be able to help in future by sponsoring a community to take up WtQ.

The Eurythmy Association received a grant of £1500 towards the UK conference in Newton Dee which was a great success. A loan was agreed for Tiphereth which now has planning permission and a contract from the city of Edinburgh for their compost scheme. The repayment schedule will be over 7 years. A grant was made to Blair Drummond to help with stage 2 of their very ambitious development project. Some seed funding has been given to the Karl König /Camphill Archive but future funding will depend on communities.   A grant of £10K was made to Simeon's ambitious development scheme. There is also the offer of a loan in the event of a shortfall in funds.

There are schemes for elder care developing in various localities and it is clear that there will need to be local solutions and initiatives. The Foundation might be able to fund a bricks and mortar project.   Loch Arthur has a new website using the Treeline system provided by the Foundation.

The Foundation's own website has attracted worldwide attention from people who take it to be Camphill's ‘head office', sending many  co-worker applications, company offers and even one internal complaint (which was passed on to the appropriate community). Website visits are now 6000+ but online donations have been extremely disappointing. There is a new video trailer, a news page and a Facebook page.

All this creates a positive image, but the likely view of the Foundation as a ‘second tier funder' redistributing funds is a real obstacle and the lack of donations is a major issue. Camphill may appear too big and successful and the Foundation has not normally put forward individual projects. However, through a contact set up by the Foundation with a private grant-making trust The Lantern Community has received £20,000 towards its new workshop development.

Communities' fundraising works from the centre outwards while the Foundation as an international organisation works the other way around and this has proved difficult. Professional advice will be sought from a PR consultant in April and our strategy reviewed again in June.  The Foundation is represented at the AOCC PR meeting, where the clear differences between the four neighbourhoods are recognised and there is a feeling that the Association and Foundation could be working closer together.  

Peter Bateson, Development Coordinator