Who is the Campaign for Real Care?

I am James Fearnley. I have been involved with Anthroposophy for the last 40 years. My wife and I chose to move from Suffolk to North Yorkshire in 1984 so that our then four children could attend the Waldorf School at Botton Village. We achose the school at Botton Village specifically because it was set in a Camphill Community, caring for people with learning disabilities, in the context of what Rudolf Steiner called the Threefold Social Order.

Organisational Structure of The Campaign for Real Care

The Campaign for Real Care is being set up as a Not for Profit Company Limited by Guarantee with a Board of Director/ Trustees. The full list of both Directors and Patrons will be published shortly.

Aims of the Campaign for Real Care

•    To continue encouraging expressions of friendship and support for the ethos and values of Camphill in general and Botton Village in particular. We aim to collect 10,000 Pledges of Friendship and Support by Easter Sunday 2012.

•    To publish information about the specific difficulties facing Botton Village as well as articles and opinions from all sides from those who propose solutions.

•    To build a library of information in all mediums about the Threefold Social Order, Camphill and allied initiatives.

Care in the Community and Care as a result of Community

In the three fold social order, our economic life –work, is based on brotherhood/fraternity, social life on rights and cultural/spiritual life on absolute freedom. Combined consciously, in the right way, the threefold model provides a synergistic whole; a single community fabric, which enables natural life creative forces to flourish.

This has been the context in which people with learning disabilities in Botton have in fact flourished and as a consequence have been cared for. This model of care has been in existence for nearly 60 years since Dr. Karl Koenig founded the Botton Village Community in 1955. Botton Village has become a model for the now worldwide Camphill movement.

In recent years Camphill and Botton Village in particular, has faced a number of developmental challenges. Chief amongst these has been the interface between the natural, organic, integrated threefold model of Camphill and the inevitably, largely singular, monolithic, risk - benefit model that has come about through state provision and state regulation.

The Botton model is a model for the future. But as it has grown rapidly, and as its funding base has shifted more towards the state, then society has quite naturally demanded it explain itself more , justify itself more, become a more transparent and conscious expression of itself.

The state’s model on the other hand is a determined and pragmatic model of the present.  As the state’s model seeks to provide ever stronger safeguards for people with learning difficulties in a climate of profit and private enterprise, so the pressure on the regulators to produce fool proof systems has grown too. 

The problem is that understandably the state system sees itself in its own light. Like the man from Del Monte it has become an expert at inspecting APPLES (Care Providers), for their redness, their roundness, their firmness, their fitness for purpose. But when it comes to Botton it finds a different fruit - BANANAS! (a community where care naturally flourishes ). There is a real dilemma here for the APPLE inspectors: are these long bent yellow things just misshapen apples or are they something completely different?

Possibly the banana growers have not done enough to explain the nature of what they are and maybe the apple Inspectors are  finding it difficult to see how there can be anything different from apples.

My purpose in creating this site is to encourage as many people as are able to share their understanding of what is truly valuable and creative about the Camphill model and to provide a warm coat for the practitioners in this time of coldness and misunderstanding.

We want to do this by providing information from all angles and where possible indicate where meetings can take place. Many people have already contributed their thoughts on this site and many contributions have been promised which we hope will  help inform the debate and enable  the pioneering model of Botton Village to be better understood  and for it to continue to develop and to be an inspiration.

James Fearnley

What is the Threefold Social Order

The Three Fold Social Order, as many will know, is an attempt to create communities where  social, economic and cultural life are integrated  naturally and organically, in a nutshell ,where the whole equals more than the sum of the parts.


Work as brotherhood means work for the sake of your relationship with others, i.e. fraternity rather than individual financial need or greed. Work in this context becomes more of a gift than graft; it is our way of contributing our unique talents, gifts, capacities, resources as if were separate but functional parts of a collective body rather than a disconnected individual body.

We see this relationship in perfection in the beehive. There different groups of bees carry out their unique functions - foraging, cleaning, heating, cooling, nursing, morale boosting (the drones!) in complete love. Clearly human beings have a way to go before they achieve this level of harmonious cooperation. However Karl Koenig, in setting up Botton in 1955, consciously included this ideal in his Camphill model.

The co workers are not paid. Rather the community provides for the co workers needs.  In a sense the caring for and taking responsibility for people with learning disabilities has provided the will, the necessity, the drive, to practice this ideal. It is a tough model but it has been working and developing at Botton Village and elsewhere for nearly 60 years.


Our social life is governed by those rules and rights we choose to create together, rules and rights which define our commonly shared model of how we should or should not behave in our society. These commonly shared ideals, drawn from a shared moral consciousness, often end up as written rules and of course in society in general as Laws. 

But the appropriateness of rules and laws change and what we find acceptable behaviour in one century will not always survive the changing moral awareness of the next; if they did women would still not have the vote.

Mini societies or communities, of course, create their own rules; grant their own rights .Botton Village as a community, like other intentional communities, has consciously embodied various ideals and ideas into their community not necessarily as fixed rules but more often as mutually accepted principles. Obviously these rules must operate within the wider legal framework of any given society. For example the Botton Village community, as do other Camphill Communities, eschew the use of televisions (for specific health related reasons).

Different cultures, different states, different communities have different rules and laws and those who may wish to join those communities from the outside have the choice whether or not to become part of that body of rights and responsibilities. For example it would not be acceptable in the UK for a Dutchman to claim that he should be allowed to smoke pot here because he could smoke it legally in Holland.

Communities like Botton take inordinate care when interviewing prospective members ( villagers and co-workers ) to ensure that they are aware of the ethos, ideals, principles, guidelines, rules, regulations, written and unwritten, which apply in that community. They do this in order that informed choices can be made. It would not be reasonable, if once you had decided to join a religious order based on silence for example, to claim the injustice of not having the choice to speak whenever you wanted.


When it comes to exercising our inner conscience, whether you prefer TS Elliot to Ted Hughes, love Sufism or Sunni Islam, are a Christian or an Alistair Crowley enthusiast, think that God is one or three, then that is your absolute freedom. In fact it is every human beings responsibility to find that true understanding of himself/herself - himself or herself! 

Your cultural and spiritual life remains entirely your own inner world. It belongs to no other than you yourself.  There can be no imposed state religion or community religion. Here it is important to point out that Botton Village is NOT a religious community. It may provide a home and help for an impulse in the form of the Christian Community but it could not and would not ever seek to prescribe any individuals conscience.

The community at Botton is home to one of the brightest cultural expressions in North Yorkshire. It is a beacon of cultural activity, real live culture including films, concerts, theatre, conferences.

The International Eurythmy School is based at Botton as is the Botton Village Waldorf School. None of these cultural initiatives are focussed inwardly on the community itself but involve a flow and exchange of human and cultural activity both within the region and internationally.

We will be putting up more information about the Threefold Social Order in the section Find out more about Camphill.