CAMPAIGNERS supporting a community of learning disabled adults who are opposed to changes being introduced by the charity that runs it have reached an agreement after intensive mediation.

Camphill Village Trust (CVT), which runs Botton in Danby Dale on the North York Moors, and members of Action for Botton - who want to preserve the residents’ way of life of living alongside carers know as co-workers - are moving towards agreeing a final settlement after months of bitter wrangling.

Botton residents launched a High Court bid to challenge the trust’s plans to make the co-workers paid employees – arguing it puts an end to the family-style living residents are used to, something they say makes Botton special.

Now both parties have agreed a process which aims to reach a final settlement of the long-running dispute after two days of mediation in London.

The legally-binding agreement, reached by the two parties and their lawyers, sets out key guiding principles as well as specific shared aims for the communities of Botton – as well as two other CVT communities - to be implemented in an agreed timetable.

The agreement covers a range of key issues from governance of the charity at local and national level to areas of dispute such as the core principle of life-sharing in CVT communities.

Further discussions are to be held over the next few months and a review with the mediator will take place in three months with the aim of reaching a final agreement by the end of January 2016.

An application will be made to the High Court to put on hold the legal proceedings brought by families and co-workers with the hope that trust can be rebuilt and the legal action dropped.

Neil Davidson, chair of pressure group Action for Botton, said: “I warmly welcome the positive steps which have been taken during the mediation process.

“Now all parties need to build on what has been achieved so far, continue to work together in good faith and carry the whole process through to a successful conclusion.”

Andy Paton from CVT said: “Among the agreements made were for shared lives for adult living – it’s a solid start and we hope it will lead to a lasting solution.

“Everyone involved from both side deserve a lot of credit for coming together.

“There is a shared desire to build a better and more stable future for the beneficiaries and their communities.”