Work is seen as an important part of residents’ lives; it helps to develop their full potential and their sense of responsibility and dignity. Each household’s daily structure is very similar, and this ‘rhythm’ of the day is common to all Camphill communities, forming an important part of each resident’s life.
We have a wide variety of workshops available, from Arts & Crafts including weaving, embroidery and needle work, to the Bakery and Landcraft.
The residents work is what helps our community thrive. Their artistic creations are sold at our shop and Fairs and are displayed in exhibitions. Their performances are seen in our onsite theatre. The food they grow and make is sold and eaten in the café, and the newsletters and radio content they create are what helps keep our followers and supporters informed about the Camphill community.
The Art & Craft Workshop aims to reduce stress and encourage relaxation of body and mind through art and craft, as well as exercising the fine motor skills involved in art and craft activity. Service users can express themselves through the various art and craft mediums, make friends and get to know each.
The Art & Craft Workshop allows all levels of abilities to get involved in learning and developing their skills. All residents who take part in the creative workshop have individual art and craft projects related to their interest and backgrounds. Almost everyone can draw and paint and service users have their own sketchbooks which we also call ‘feelings books’.
The workshop includes Needlework, Paper collage & Papier mâché, Natural dyeing & Flower printing, Clay work, Marbling, Mosaic making, Jewellery making, Concrete model making, Japanese woodcarving & Block carving and Mask & Model making to name but a few activities.
The Art & Craft Workshop also creates new experiences for service users, volunteers and staff by organising opportunities to show the work at exhibitions in the wider community. The crafted items are sold at the biannual Craft Fair and in the community Café and online Shop. The workshop also creates craft and art pieces for the community public spaces and homes.
We have recently opened a dedicated pottery workshop, where people can design a range of products using this natural material and glazes. In this area we also explore ways of using naturally dying techniques and indulge in the slightly messier craft activities.
Camphill Artisan Bakery is a workshop where people with learning disabilities learn how to bake fresh bread and confectionery products from mainly organic ingredients.
The bakery produces many types of loaves and bread for the whole Community. Residents learn to bake, to measure out flour and use the weighing machine, to use the basic bread ingredients such as flour, yeast, liquids, sugars, fats, salt, eggs, and extras. They gain experience in kneading, using a food processor, testing the dough, shaping the bread, glazing, and using the oven.
Residents also learn bread-making problem solving, for example what to do if the bread rises too much, or if there’s no time to finish the bread, or if the bread doesn’t rise. Our bakery is not only about loaves: residents are also shown how to prepare a variety of buns, croissants and quiches.
Our excellent Bakers like to offer real bread and sweet products daily to the wider community in Milton Keynes. We sell our bread in the shop from 11.00 am and customers can also enjoy our fresh bread in the Café with meals.
Our breads and other baked sweet treats are on sale in our Café.
At Camphill we have a fully equipped Basket & Weavery workshop where residents can hone their skills in sewing, exploring natural dying techniques, spinning and weaving on traditional manual looms. The process of following sequences and working to specific patterns helps develop cognitive and motor skills and gives a very stimulating and rewarding experience.
Some of the products made in the workshops are on sale just inside the door, so shoppers can witness the skilled craft people in action before they select their unique purchases. Our products have also been sold at different events, including CMKC Open Days and The Great Linford Waterside Festival.
We even had the honour of being asked by the Cenotaph Trust to use our weavery skills to create a one-off unique cloth for the unveiling of the Founders Pillars in the Milton Keynes Rose, Camphill Park, by HRH the Duke of Cambridge.
The Café is a Workshop for members of the Camphill Community providing training in food preparation, food safety and customer care. The team is made up of residents and service users who live outside Camphill and support staff. We also offer work experience to students of social care and hospitality.
There is an ongoing training programme in the Café in the form of Health and Safety Talk Topics. This is an opportunity to ensure everyone understands the safe methods required for working in this environment, and on completion of each subject or set of subjects a certificate of recognition is issued.
The Garden Workshop allows our service users to learn how to plant, grow and harvest fruit and vegetables. There are two gardens at Camphill Milton Keynes Communities that we manage and enjoy all year round. We have a mature fruit orchard, Living Willow Sculpture Garden, a paddock, soft fruit area and two large fully functioning polytunnels.
The garden on the Willen Park site is the larger one, and needs more people to work it. The work varies with a multitude of tasks from weeding to planting, harvesting and
storing. The Pennyland garden is smaller, but provides a wide range of work to be done. It has a beautiful orchard with seven or eight varieties of apples.
Both gardens grown fruit and vegetables for the houses, the Café, the Shop and Landcraft Workshop. We use organic and biodynamic methods, where possible, although we are not registered with Soil Association or Demeter.
The Garden Workshop aims to work the land, grow crops and train the Service Users and Co-Workers who assist the Workshop Supervisors in day-to-day activities and help the Service Users to achieve their goals.
The Gardens are open all year round but main activities take place during spring, summer and autumn. Winter is a much quieter time when we reflect, plan and prepare for the new growing season.
Our Landcraft Workshop accommodates many handcrafts that are related to the land from fruit preservation to needle felting, wreath making and lavender drying. The chemical-free fruit we grow in our gardens is carefully picked and turned into jams, chutneys or cordials. We make wreaths using willow grown in our paddock, and for needle felting we use wool that comes from sheep that graze the land.
The Landcraft Workshop is open for two days per week and our service users use the facility to learn basic food hygiene, how to prepare fruit for freezing, cooking&bottling, how to prepare and dry flowers, how to felt, knit & crochet and how to label the products.
Most of our preserves, felts, wreaths and others are sold in our Camphill Shop and used by the houses and the Café.
Music is a great way to bring the community together and to help the residents express themselves. We have some very talented music teachers and bands that visit, giving the residents the opportunity to interact and play and sing with them.
At Camphill we also have our own Internet Radio, which enables the residents to communicate and celebrate together and with the the wider Learning Difficulties community in Milton Keynes and beyond.
The residents contribute to the content of the show, creating songs, reading stories and poems, making jokes or conducting interviews.
In our Newsletter Workshop we are the journalists and reporters of our community. Our resident members work really hard to make the newsletters interesting, up-to-date, relevant and empowering.
Our resident photographer Alex professionally captures precious moments to accompany our published news and thought stories. In our newsletter we cover community events and gatherings, important events outside Camphill, talented residents with their artistic creations and anything that happens in the Chrysalis Theatre
The newsletter is also a place to welcome newcomers and say goodbye to those leaving the community. From time to time, members conduct interviews with residents, co-workers and staff to help bring our community closer.
Of course we relax too when taking a little break from assignments, we like to challenge the community with games and competitions, and we make sure that we always win by sending our most fierce players.
Find out what is currently happening in the community by viewing our blog page.
Our main shop for our bakery items garden produce is located in the Café. In addition, we stock a range of dry store ingredients and special diet items as well as products from other local supplies, including some of the items we use in our menus.
We also have sales outlets in our Textile and Pottery workshops of products made in those areas.
In the Tech Lab the word “disability” is not in our dictionary and residents take on tasks according to their interests and abilities. Even if someone is only able to recognise the alphabet and a few numbers, with support, collaboration and persistence, an online presence and the benefits of modern technology can still be very much enjoyed. What is more fulfilling is to see the faces of our service users catching up with family from far flung corners of the world via Facebook and seeing them connect on LinkedIn and Yahoo Mail on a smart phone!
We really enjoy making digital birthday and thank you cards, catching up on the latest sporting events and weather whilst enjoying relaxing music or a funny video clip online.
In the Tech Lab we don’t just have fun while we learn. We actually work! We collaborate with our Shop, Café and other workshops to produce flyers, leaflets, signs and maps. Our resident members are full of ideas and artistic abilities that really help when we’re stuck for inspiration.
We are also very serious and up-to-date with our online health and safety. Our residents have learned to take regular breaks and rest their eyes while working with an electronic device. Emails, Facebook and other social media accounts all have necessary safety settings turned on to minimise the risk of online exploitation.
We offer three drama workshops, offering a holistic approach for people with a variety of abilities, ranging from those who wish to engage and explore the social and therapeutic side of performing arts, to those who want to write, stage manage, design and perform in our beautiful Chrysalis Theatre. Many of these performances are open to the public.
Camphill MK residents and local disabled individuals work at the Chrysalis. Our back stage workshop helps to maintain and manage the Chrysalis, as well as performing in the community’s own productions.
Tools for Self Reliance (TFSR) is a separate, national organization.
At the Pennyland workshop, CMKC residents and co-workers join TFSR enthusiasts in a tools refurbishing workshop with a good cause. Old tools donated by local people are mended and refurbished. The “good as new” tools are then shipped to different organizations in Africa and elsewhere, to be used by hundreds of craftsmen.
In addition, the group take on a variety of upcycling projects from push bike maintenance to woodwork and making some new from old preloved thing. The group learns many new skills using hand tools and carpentry equipment.
This workshop offers a six week course exploring the local area with a focus on environment, cultural and inclusive subjects.
They are available to research new routes for people with special mobility needs and to test new and old services to understand how user friendly they are.
They also study a range of subjects of particular interest to individuals in the group and are on hand to volunteer if help in the local community is needed. They enjoy participating on panels with partnership organisations and report back to the community any relevant findings or information.