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 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 as 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, who have a wealth of knowledge and experience and who are passionate about helping those within Camphill to grow and thrive.
Tom joined Camphill MK as Registered Manager in 2018. Tom started as a volunteer, later becoming a support worker following university and then progressing to senior management roles within supported living, dementia care and working as an inspector for the CQC.
Passionate about person-centred care, quality and innovation, Tom enjoys coordinating community events, working with staff to develop skills, and helping Camphill to flourish. It’s Tom’s belief that every individual has potential and that forward-thinking social care enables individuals to thrive and blossom. Tom is married with two daughters and enjoys writing, playing the keyboard and guitar, video gaming, football, running and table tennis.
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 Facilities Maintenance Manager. After leaving school Simon qualified in Carpentry while working in the building trade. Simon changed direction with his career and joined the Police Service, where he served for 13 years until 2014. He left to assist in the construction of a college as their Premises Manager, later as Estates Manager.
Qualifying in IOSH health & safety 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 giving the best facility for individuals to their full potential. Simon enjoys outdoor pursuits, including walking and rock climbing.
Marija joined Camphill Milton Keynes as a live-in volunteer co-worker from 2002 -2003. Returning as an employee in 2009, first as a house co-ordinator and later progressing to the role of Training Manager.
Prior to joining CMK Marija was working as a journalist in 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 qualifications in Education and Training and Health and Social Care. Marija is currently studding Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching at Institute of Health Sciences.
Tim has over 25 years’ experience working in health and social care. For the last 10 years he has worked with Learning disabilities and Autism. Settings have varied from Local and Health Authority roles, National Charities and his own limited company. He led a Camphill College in East Sussex for around 3 years and has been CEO at Camphill Milton Keynes Communities since 2013.
Tim currently represents the voluntary sector in Milton Keynes at the Health and Wellbeing partnership board alongside senior leaders from the locality and is a representative for the AoCC, supporting Camphill settings across England and Wales in this role. “What drives and excites me are the relationships that we develop with our beneficiaries”.
Julia joined Camphill in 2007 leading the café workshop. Prior to that she undertook various roles in volunteering for her local community, supporting young children and their families. She worked for fifteen years in chef roles in a local restaurant while bringing up her children. She was a SEN support worker, staff member representative on the board of governors at the local school and Parochial Church Council. She completed qualifications in hotel and catering management, studied with the Open University and was a Chartered Institute of Environmental Health registered trainer. Under Julia’s direction the Camphill café’s reputation grew, her contribution leading to her promotion five years ago to manage the charity’s day opportunities provision.
Lucy joins us from the arts sector where she has spent the past 20-years supporting artists and artistic organisations in Milton Keynes. During her career she has secured c. £12m into the city to support the development of the creative industries and cultural sector. Most recently Lucy was Executive Director for The Stables and IF: Milton Keynes International Festival where she led on implementing their business plan, developing partnerships and securing funding.
As Head of Development, Lucy will lead on developing new relationships and the fundraising for a capital programme across the Camphill MK sites.
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.