A CAMPAIGN group fighting for the rights of learning disabled community in a North Yorkshire is being backed by the Charity Commission in its latest High Court bid.

Action for Botton said the Charity Commission has given the go-ahead for the second of two sets of proceedings at the High Court against Camphill Village Trust (CVT), which runs the community.

The claim has been brought by it volunteer carers - known as co-workers - and the families of residents at Botton, near Whitby, as well as two other CVT communities in England.

It will argue the charity trustees have acted outside their powers in introducing controversial changes to the way the communities are run.

CVT is converting all the carers from volunteers to paid staff following tax advice - which means the shared living arrangements with residents will end. The carers were recently served with eviction notices.

Action for Botton said the changes seriously impact on the lives of residents who enjoy living and working with co-workers, who are viewed as family members.

They argue the decision by the trust is contrary to its guiding principles, set down 60 years ago by Austrian academic Rudolf Steiner.

Bethan Wilkins-Jones from the Charity Commission said: “It is disappointing to read the other party is not prepared to engage in talks unless and until the Commission authorises proceedings.

“In those circumstances we are satisfied that the applicants have properly sought to resolve matters by alternative means and that they remain committed to doing so.”

Huw John, CVT chief executive, said: “We recognise and respect the Charity Commission’s decision to allow the beliefs of those campaigning against the charity to be tested in court.

“If the administrative tests set by the commission are met it is only right that the matter should pass to the court to adjudicate over - if this is what claimants wish.”

The Commission has said it is not considering regulatory action, but has allowed the case to go before the court because it has been "properly pleaded".

Mr John added: “In essence, the campaigners want to revert the charity to a time when the Care Quality Commission, local authorities and the Charity Commission were all forced to intervene due to serious concerns about poor management and governance.

“The charity does not believe that such a retrograde step is in the best interests of the people we support.

“It would also put us in conflict with requirements of HM Revenue and Customs, local authorities and other regulatory bodies.”