A CANDLELIT vigil is to be held by people protesting against proposed changes to the management of a community for adults with learning disabilities.

The changes are being proposed to the running of Botton Village, based in Danby Dale in the North York Moors.

The community is run by the Camphill Village Trust (CVT) for adults with learning difficulties was established 60 years ago. It provides home for 280 people; a mixture of people with learning disabilities and co-workers who live and work alongside them.

The village includes five working farms, a health centre, village hall and other facilities and its adults tend to live in shared homes with co-workers in the village.

But it is believed a Charity Commission report this year advised the organisation to make changes to the way the co-workers were financially supported and managed.

The charity says it has also received tax advice which has led to it proposing to move co-workers to employees.

But campaigners with Action for Botton say the changes will destroy the culture and ethos of their unique communities, which are based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner.

They are also concerned that CVT is ending the core principle of “life-sharing” in which workers and residents live together in family-like settings.

At a recent public meeting at Danby Village Hall, 250 people unanimously vote to support Action for Botton in its campaign against the changes, which they say will replace its long-established system of voluntary working with standard, shift-working, minimum-wage employment contracts.

On Sunday, August 17, the group will be holding a candlelit vigil at Danby Church at 6.30pm, before walking towards the village with lanterns.

Action for Botton chairman Neil Davidson said: “Our campaign has already attracted support from nearly 3,000 well-wishers around the world.

“We are urging all our local supporters to attend the vigil which will be an opportunity to demonstrate our strong support for the many villagers, co-workers and their families who are against these proposals.”

Huw John, chief executive of Camphill Village Trust said the changes will still preserve the essence of a Camphill community and were already successfully working in several of its other communities.

“Communities that have already embraced the new model of working are creative, vibrant, happy places that have retained a strong sense of community whilst being modern, relevant, safe and financially viable,” he said.

“Local authorities are recognising the changes and are making new referrals for the first time in many years.

“People will still live and work alongside each other, but with a greater choice in the way in which this happens.

“Botton’s ethos relies upon the relationships of the people who live and work there; such relationships should not be dependent upon the employment status of the people giving care.”