SME Awards

Camphill MK Awarded Best Business in MK!

We’re thrilled to be awarded the SME MK and Buckinghamshire Best Business in Milton Keynes with more than 50 employees in 2024.

The SME Awards recognise businesses with fewer than 250 employees. We were also a finalist in the Community Business of the Year category. Julia and Lucy had the pleasure of collecting the award.

We want to reiterate how amazing our community is and thank the team for everything they do. It strengthens our charity (and business) and shows people outside of the community what a fabulous place Camphill MK is! 

If you’re interested in what helped them choose Camphill MK, read the nomination below.

Camphill Milton Keynes, founded in 1981, is a remarkable community that provides support and meaningful work for adults with diverse learning disabilities. We create a safe, nurturing environment where individuals can flourish according to their unique needs. We believe in fostering a sense of belonging where everyone—residents, volunteers, and staff alike—contributes to the vibrant tapestry of our community.

As a key Milton Keynes business, we have a number of houses to support vulnerable adults, acting as landlords and carers. We provide a significant number of employment opportunities, with the majority reaching individuals without skills or qualifications (as we offer a robust in-house training programme). Our site also includes allotments and a bakery for growing and producing wholesome meals for residents and visitors to our café.  Camphill MK has a high level of staff retention and a very high level of resident retention. In the last five years, we have grown from 46 residents to 78, with many of our residents having been in Camphill for 25+ years. In that time, eight residents moved, primarily to be closer to family or due to changing needs.

Compared to other settings, we have not struggled with recruitment (having increased our staff team from 63 to 130 in the last five years) and growing resident numbers from 40 to 77 in the same period. We have a very ethnically diverse staff workforce, and our residents are individuals of low financial means (are within the benefits system) and have disabilities. Just over half of our staff were recruited without care skills; we have a robust in-house training system and have seen 23 staff members gain promotions in the past five years. This reinforces the appeal of working at Camphill MK.

Our training is also adaptive to changes in demand, knowledge, and priorities. Last year, when we welcomed a trans person to our community, we partnered with Q:Alliance to train staff across our houses and workshops in LGBTQ+ communications, support, and how to be welcoming to anyone exploring their gender or sexuality.

In 2023, our Care Manager, Tom Bridle, won Care Manager of the Year at the National Inclusion Awards, and our support worker, Cheryl, won Support Worker of the Year. As a result, both have been invited to the houses of parliament for a congratulatory lunch – this has offered everyone in the team immense pride in their and our collective abilities. Our inclusivity has also activated businesses to engage with us and celebrate positive mental health. Employees value the opportunity to experience input from people from different backgrounds and experience how to alter communication styles, expectations, and outputs from any given task.

We have considerable ambitions which will impact Milton Keynes as a whole. We have embarked on a £15m capital expansion scheme to offer supported living to even more adults with learning disabilities, almost doubling the number of people we support. The scheme requires significant inward investment, benefiting businesses in Milton Keynes. We have a local PM and contractors and are utilising local materials where possible (reducing the carbon miles of the project). Through the project, we will double the number of our employees and build a purpose-made arts centre accessible to the general public (addressing the lack of facilities since the close of MK Arts Centre and InterAction MK facilities).

We are committed to being a major provider of care in Milton Keynes and, through that, a significant contributor to the city by championing neurodiversity.

In the past year, Camphill Milton Keynes has achieved remarkable milestones deserving of recognition and accolades:

  • In the summer of 2023, we broke ground, launching our expansion plans to double support for individuals with disabilities. Having secured £3.1m towards the first phase of a significant programme, we are expanding to support those currently unable to live independently.
  • We also secured an Excellent rating from MK City Council. Their PAMMS (Provider Assessment and Market Management Solution) report lauds Camphill MK’s care for adults with learning disabilities and autism. Areas such as care planning, resident activity, dignity, training, quality assurance, health and safety, and leadership received an ‘Excellent’ rating2.
  • Eighteen months ago, Camphill MK had a good reputation with those who knew it, but our profile, on the whole, was very low. Without any media spending, we have secured national TV coverage with BBC and Channel 4, secured a ‘celebrity’ patron (Martha Kearney), received significant grants, and received invitations for staff members to the Houses of Commons, Buckingham Palace, and Lady Howe’s Garden Party—our work is being celebrated as wider MK learns the incredible achievements and offerings of our community.
  • In 2022, we set about enhancing our reach and achieved exactly what we hoped for. A profile and recognition that inclusivity and diversity should be celebrated.

Categories Camphill life/Charity/Events & Celebrations/Features/Learning Disabilities/Milton Keynes/News/Staff & Volunteers

Post Author: Alicja McCarthy

Charity no.283556

Contact Us

Camphill Milton Keynes Communities, Japonica Lane, Willen Park, Milton Keynes, MK15 9JY.

Phone: 01908 235 000


Camphill Café: 01908 308738