A GROUP of residents and volunteers from a community where learning disabled people live alongside live-in carers have presented a petition against changes to their way of life to Downing Street.

The party from Botton, in Danby Dale, North Yorkshire, went to London today (Tuesday, February 24) to hand in the petition which last week was presented to North Yorkshire County Council and Camphill Village Trust (CVT) - the charity that runs Botton village.

The petition urges CVT and the council to allow residents to continue to live in a family setting, rather than with paid carers, which the trust says is how many other CVT sites are successfully run.

Eddie Thornton, a former employee of CVT, who is now a volunteer cheese-maker, said despite sadness that many co-workers who lived with residents had been told to either sign up as paid staff for the charity or leave, the residents had a good day.

He said: “We set off for London this morning and after lunch we presented the petition to an official at 10 Downing Street who will pass it on to David Cameron.

“We hope he will stand with the most vulnerable people in his country and put any pressure he can on CVT.”

The group ended the day with a tour of the House of Lords, thanks to a friend of the campaigners knowing a member.

Mr Thornton added: “She doesn’t want to be named but a member of the House of Lords, who is concerned about Botton, gave us a tour.

“It was a long and emotional day for all of us but the villagers are very happy they had the opportunity to reach the very top with their petition.”

CVT has said co-workers currently living with people with learning disabilities, and those with children, will continue to be allowed to live in Botton for the time being, but will no longer work for the charity from March 31.