Founded in 1981, Camphill Milton Keynes provides support and a meaningful working life for adults with a wide range of learning difficulties. Over fifty residents live together with our volunteer co-workers in ten separate households. Together with employed staff they form a community of over one hundred people living on several sites within the neighbouring housing estates of Pennyland and Willen Park.
Our aim is to create a safe and stimulating environment, fully integrated into the surrounding community that allows individuals to develop in accordance with their own needs.
The Willen Park village is the focus of Camphill Milton Keynes Communities (CMKC). This is where most of the community’s activities are based including our office, the Café, our Chrysalis Theatre, the Shop and main garden and orchard.
Most community members live here, and this is where most meetings and social activities take place. There are five houses here: Sunwood/Willow-wood, Margaret Powell, Whitethorn, Blackthorn and Appleyard. The houses form a horseshoe around a lawn, often where football, cricket, and celebrations of all kinds take place.
There are more houses close to the Willen Park village, in Sakura Drive, Thorneycroft Lane and Pennyland, where some residents live more independently, with co-workers visiting to support them.
Our Pennyland site is the smaller of the two and was the first to be established in the mid 1980s by our Camphill pioneers. There are more workshops in a building called Michael’s Akyre, a walled garden for growing vegetables, soft fruit and herbs plus our weaver, craft workshop and tools for self-reliance. The three residential houses are called Oberlin, Soltane, and Kazantzakis.
In our Willen Park location is The Chrysalis Theatre, a modern multi-function venue that serves as a theater, concert hall and meeting place for CMKC and for the wider community of Milton Keynes.
It has become recognised as a prestigious receiving venue, not only in Milton Keynes but also beyond, with the famous names of Warwick Davis, Priscilla Presley, Barry Humphreys, Felix Dennis and Jonathan Dimbleby (BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions?). With a particular interested in innovative, high-quality productions, music and dance, we are able to provide the community with a wide perspective of performance, particularly if it has significance for those with learning disabilities.
The Camphill movement was founded in 1939 by Doctor Karl König. König came to Aberdeen and met with many of his former colleagues and friends who’d also fled Nazi-occupied countries during this time. They occupied an old estate called “Camphill” in Aberdeen, Scotland which became the first Camphill Community based on curative education.
He was a great believer in the abilities and spiritual/holistic welfare of children with disabilities and the idea that they have a potential that can be unlocked and developed. Central to this was using the arts to develop potential- Camphill communities are always alive with art and craft activity, drama and have a very specific aesthetic and architectural style. Koenig was also religious and a great believer in the spiritual potential of those living with disabilities, inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s work before him.
From the first community in Aberdeen, Camphills began to develop all across the World – at the time they were founded, built, maintained and run by co-workers who adopted Camphill as a way of life rather than a job. In retrospect, it was decades ahead of its time considering how to work alongside and with adults and children with learning disabilities instead of marginalising them.
Camphill Milton Keynes is rather unique among Camphill Communities for its urban setting. Most of the early Camphill communities were built on farmland or country estates and usually quite remote. CMKC was an attempt to create a community within a more urban environment where residents could seek out outside work opportunities and have access to urban amenities.
Two of the people who were instrumental in founding the MK community were Morwenna Bucknall and Ann Harris. They both worked with König in the 50s and 60s and later went on to play significant roles in establishing and building the community here.
The parents’ group of the Camphill Village Trust was interested in creating such a community in the late 70s, which coincided with a chance meeting between a consultant in Aylesbury who went to see a talk by Thomas Weihs (one of the founders of the Camphill movement). That triggered discussions between the Milton Keynes Development Corporation (which existed before the council) and the Camphill movement.
Milton Keynes Development Corporation was incredibly forward-thinking in its planning of the City to include provisions for people with disabilities. They were highly committed to social development and pioneering these kinds of projects. Without that insightful planning, the Camphill Milton Keynes ‘project’ would not have been successful. In fact, Camphill was invited to Milton Keynes to play a part in the imagination of the wonderful ‘New Town’ from the beginning.
There were often questions and doubt to see if the project would even be viable. Today we are hugely advantaged by our location and relationship to the City in a more challenging way for other communities. CMKC was built on the idea that people with learning disabilities should be part of the wider community and not marginalised from it, which was still a pioneering idea at the time.
Camphill MK is run by a devoted team
Tom joined Camphill MK as Registered Manager in 2018. Tom started his career in social care as an overseas volunteer, later becoming a support worker following university and then progressing to senior management roles within supported living, dementia care and working for the Care Quality Commission as an inspector. Passionate about person-centred care, quality and innovation, Tom enjoys coordinating community events, working with staff to develop their skills and passions, and helping Camphill to flourish. It’s Tom’s belief that every individual has untapped potential and that holistic and forward-thinking social care enables individuals to thrive and blossom; whether staff, people who use services or those involved in their lives.
David joined Camphill MK as Finance Manager/Company Secretary in 2011.
Following the well-trodden path of finance degree then practice David spent the next thirty years in internal audit, FC, FD and MD roles in manufacturing, distribution, software development and accountancy/tax CPD, the majority with SME’s including a MBO in the early 1990’s. Ten years ago he decided to transfer to the third sector and has relished every moment in contributing to the development of Camphill.
Married for thirty years with two daughters, delusional dreams as a fading rock guitarist compensate for Scotland’s rugby and football performances.
Simon Joined Camphill in 2018 as the Facilities Maintenance Manager.
After leaving school Simon qualified at NVQ level 3 Carpentry while working in the building trade for five years. Simon took a change in direction with his career and joined the Police Service, where he served in various roles for a period of 13 years.
Simon left the Police service in 2014 where he picked up on his previous knowledge to assist in the management of the final construction stages of a new sixth form college, that was being built by an established academy as their Premises Manager, later taking on the task of conjoining the Management of the two site as the Estates Manager. Also while in this role qualifying in IOSH health & safety and also taking up responsibilities in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. It was this that lead him to seek a career where he could work directly with people in their community and giving the best facility for individuals to their full potential.
Simon enjoys outdoor pursuits, his favourites being walking and rock climbing, during the pandemic he has taken on a project of developing a MPV into a campervan with his partner in the hope they will be able to tour Europe, with the backup plan of at least enjoying it with their daughters.
Tim has over 25 years’ experience working in health and social care. Spanning Acute, forensic, and continuing care Mental Health, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care, Visual and Hearing impairment services and for the last 10 years he has worked with Learning disabilities and Autism. Settings have varied from Local and Health Authority positions with North Yorkshire County Council and York Health Services NHS Trust, National Charities such as Together working for wellbeing (previously the Mental Aftercare Association) Rethink Mental Illness, Action for Blind people / RNIB, and smaller local charities such as Camphill. He was Principle / General Manager at a Camphill College in East Sussex for around 3 years and has been CEO at Camphill Milton Keynes Communities since 2013. Tim also ran his own limited company, supporting charities with change management programmes across the South of England.
Tim is also a national representative to the Association of Camphill Communities, representing Camphill settings across England and Wales in this role.
Tim describes “what drives and excites me are the relationships that we develop with our beneficiaries to support them on their journey, as CEO it is sometimes easy to become distant from those that we support but in Camphill I find a philosophy of recognising the humanity of our beneficiaries over and above their labels of disability affords us the privilege to get to know our people well and support them with dignity and respect”.
Marija joined Camphill Milton Keynes as a live-in volunteer co-worker from 2002 -2003. She has also volunteered in Camphill Solborg, Norway.
Currently Marija has been with Camphill Milton Keynes since 2009, first as a house co-ordinator and later successfully progressing to the role of Training Manager. Prior to joining CMK Marija was working as a journalist in Zagreb, Croatia.
Marija has BS in Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Sciences (University of Zagreb), BS in Theology (University of Osijek, Croatia) and MSc in Anthropological Bioethics (University of Zagreb).
Marija also studied Psychotherapy and Counselling at Regents College in London. She holds a qualification in Education and Training and is at Level 5 in Health and Social Care. Marija is currently studding Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching at Institute of Health Sciences.
Natasha joined Camphill in 2020 as Service Development and Assessment manager. A qualified occupational therapist, prior to joining CMKC she had worked with local authority teams, in NHS acute and community services, mental health secure services and with supported living providers.
I trained to be an occupational therapist as it’s a profession that enables and I love to work with people in a person-centred way to meet their goals. I love working here, I believe that CMKC has the same values as I do both personally and professionally. I am passionate about improving outcomes for this client group, especially in terms of inclusion and health, and aim to be a positive influence for change. Since joining CMKC I have been impressed with the quality of life that the residents have, with lots of opportunity to engage in leisure, social and vocational activities.
Julia joined Camphill in 2007 leading the café workshop. Prior to that she undertook various roles in volunteering, local schools, SEN support including fifteen years in chef roles in a local restaurant. Underpinning her experience, she completed qualifications in hotel and catering management and was a Chartered Institute of Environmental Health registered trainer. Under Julia’s direction the Camphill café’s reputation grew year on year, her contribution leading to her promotion five years ago to manage the charity’s day opportunities provision.
Damian is a Human Resources Manager (Assoc CIPD) with two decades of involvement in Camphill Communities and other charities for adults with learning disabilities in the UK, first as a Camphill co-worker and then in operational and leadership roles in social care.
He earned his MA degree in Social Pedagogy & Social Work and Postgraduate Certificate in Human Resources Management. He is a registered Social Worker in England.
He is particularly experienced in the areas of recruitment; learning and development; change management; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion agenda; mentoring and coaching.
A strong believer in the power of positive psychology and mindfulness. Damian enjoys international cinema and yoga in his leisure time, but can also be found on bike rides or hiking expeditions in the UK and abroad.
The Trustees of the Charity are also Directors of the Company: they are legally responsible for the running of CMKC Ltd. While they have delegated the management of CMKC Ltd to the Chief Executive, they determine strategic policy and maintain an overview of the management and affairs of the Community. They help and advise the Management Team whenever appropriate.
In 2008 Elaine became Camphill Milton Keynes first Ceo, she has been a trustee of another Camphill Community and was a representative for Camphill at the Association of Camphill Communities.
Elaine is a HR specialist but moved on to work in the care industry, in the private sector, charity sector and local authority. She has been the CEO of a hospice and is currently the head of Service for Central Bedfordshire Council’s in house care services.
Elaine has been involved in voluntary work most of her working life and is currently part of a mentoring programme to support young people as they leave care.
Jeremy spent most of his working life at the BBC, first in London (in Radio), and since 1978 as a Producer/Director of Social Science TV and radio programmes at the Open University Production Centre in MK. He has been a School Governor (including Chair) and was chair of his local union branch for some years.
Jeremy first became involved in CMKC in 2000 through his activity in local drama groups and helped to develop the Chrysalis as a public venue. He was a Trustee in 2008-09 and re-joined the Board in 2011: he now focuses on the management of buildings and other fixed assets.
Roger has worked at the highest levels in TSB Group Plc and later worked as a CEO in not-for-profit organisations. He retired as Chief Operating Officer & Director of Economic Development at the Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire Partnership in 2011, and is now a self-employed consultant providing support to the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the coalition government’s initiative to take over from Regional Development Agencies.
Roger is uncle to Anna Dixon who is a resident in CMKC. Roger became a CMKC Trustee in 2011, and focuses on financial management.
Rukhsana has worked for the Open University for last 19 years. She is an elected member of the Universities Senate and also an active member in several different groups including the BAME network and the care and caring network. Rukhsana is a member of the Leadership group of Citizens:mk, she is an ambassador for Milton Keynes Islamic Arts Heritage and Culture and is involved in the running of a Community Radio station.
She’s also been involved in local projects such as the resettlement of Syrian Refugees working with Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes council and the Red Cross.
Michael has been a Camphill Co-worker since 1971 and has lived in seven communities in the UK and Canada. He is currently living and working in Camphill Cherry Orchards Community in Bristol.
For five years (2004-2009) Michael lived in CMKC and was the service manager and interim general manager.
He sees his role as a trustee as bringing the particular perspectives of a long-term advocate of the Camphill impulse to the questions and discussions which take place at Trustee and Community meeting points.
Sue has worked in the Care Industry for the last 9 years, running a domiciliary care company in Milton Keynes and Buckingham. Through her work she gets involved with Community projects including running a dementia café, friendship lunches for the elderly and running events to raise funds for various charities including “BRING JOY FOUNDATION” that gifts grants to senior groups.
Sue has a son with learning difficulties who now lives independently in Milton Keynes. She was drawn to Camp Hill because of their ethos and professionalism and feeling that having experienced the complexity of the system as a parent she could help others.
Ian has worked in the MK Voluntary, Community, and Charity sector for over twenty years and is currently working for MK Community Foundation.
Ian has work in the community, voluntary and charity sector spans at least 25 years, working for various YMCAs. Throughout this time he has served as a trustee with several organisations.
Before this he work for several Council’s managing landscaping contracts, carrying out landscape design work, even managing a large plant nursey for one borough.
Elizabeth has been working in the realm of digital security for 18 years, Co-founding Evidence Talks in 2002 who develop world-leading digital forensic tools.
Outside of this she fulfils a number of Non-Executive roles including Vice President of Security for the Aerospace Defence and Security Industry, Chair of the Security Advisory Board at Cranfield University, Trustee of Women in International Security, Trustee of Women Leaders UK, Chair of the Governance Committee Institute of Technology at Bletchley park and being an ambassador for science and technology for SEMLEP.
John retired as an employee of Milton Keynes Council in 2012 and now devotes his time to various voluntary activities. He has been a trustee and Honorary Secretary of the MK Cenotaph Trust since its inception in 2011; and he is a trustee and Chair of Tools for Self Reliance - MK. He was a director of Methodist Guild Holidays Ltd for 9 years, and Chair of the Company for four years , following which he joined the Board of Camphill.
John was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2012 for services to young people and the community of Milton Keynes. He was appointed one of Her Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenants for Buckinghamshire in 2013.
Melanie has spent most of her professional career in Marketing and Communications in the Property and Consumer Sectors. Most notably working on the management and administration of Capital Radio’s Help A London Child and Saatchi & Saatchi. She currently leads on the Business Improvement District, MyMiltonKeynes. Melanie was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to the community of Milton Keynes during COVID-19. Domestically she has been at the participation and management end of the sport of Diving for over 40 years. She volunteers as the European position for Diving and High Diving on the World Governing Body (FINA). She is also the Chairman of British Diving.
Peter Howard has been a long-time resident of Milton Keynes. He originally joined the Milton Keynes Development Corporation as an architect, and more recently has been an architect in private practice with projects both in Milton Keynes and elsewhere.
Now retired, he maintains an interest in MK as a trustee of the Fred Roche Foundation.
Kate has 20 years of experience leading in Retail, gained across multiple roles in John Lewis including Managing Director roles in three John Lewis Department Stores, Head of Internal Communications, Digital Marketing Manager and Head of Productivity.
Kate has been an NED and Trust Director for Childbase Partnership LTD for over 3 years. She is also a member of the MK BID Board and Chair of the Shopping Centre Association. Kate was delighted to be awarded the UK Women's Leaders Award for Leisure and Retail in 2020.