The things made by Camphill Village Trust have a wholesome feel. A solid wooden clothes horse. A cheese wrapped in chequered paper. A cloth bag of wildflower seeds. They’re beautiful in their simplicity and all useful and well-made.
Everything is made in one of the Camphill communities, where adults with learning disabilities can live independently or with a carer. There are ten around the UK and they have a long history. The organisation was founded in 1939 by an Austrian refugee, Karl Konig. Initially, the charity worked with children but adults were welcomed in 1955.
Now nearly 400 adults have a home with Camphill. They work together with craft and gardening specialists to produce a range of goods which are sold to support the charity’s other work.
“To be human is to be social,” they say. Camphill places value on the organic connections people make, through being neighbours or working together. “We want people with disabilities to lead a life of opportunity,” they say.
Why they are different:
There’s real thought behind every Camphill product. The chopping boards are carefully shaped and sanded. Joints and hinges are made of made of leather cut just so. Flower seeds are gathered by hand from collective gardens.
Why they are kind:
Their model gives adults with severe learning difficulties the support to live full lives, with dignity and independence. This is about more than just meeting basic needs, these are thriving communities.