As part of MK DAD – Milton Keynes Disability Awareness Day, we will celebrate on Friday 16th July!
“MK DAD aims to highlight the enormous talents and strengths of people with disabilities and to empower them to play an integral part in the communities where they live. By celebrating as a society we raise awareness of the needs of everyone and by understanding these needs, we can become a truly inclusive community.”
We currently have an opportunity for a Support Worker to join
You will play a key role in enabling our residents with learning disabilities to achieve their goals and aspirations through their ongoing development.
You don’t need any qualifications as a full induction plus professional training will be provided.
We want to share a profoundly inspirational story about the very first two Camphill MK residents – Nigel and Mervyn.
Nigel was a resident at the Delrow Community but chose to come to Milton Keynes to help set up the new community in 1980 and be considered a founder member. He initially lived in the recycling shop in Olney with the first co-workers before moving to Oberlin once the community had acquired the Pennyland Houses. Nigel was something of a celebrity, and his story is quite an astonishing one that deserves to be told!
Nigel lived with Down Syndrome, which was often associated with severe intellectual disability and shorted life spans, often resulting in them being admitted to institutions or separated from society. Nigel had a very dedicated parent who taught him to read and write at a young age and even encouraged him to keep diaries. In 1967 while he was living in a Camphill Community, he wrote a book called “Diary of a Mongoloid Youth” (the accepted term for those living with Down Syndrome was indeed “Mongoloid” not so long ago). In the same year he was also the subject of a BBC Documentary called “The Special World of Nigel Hunt” (you can still watch it here). Given that this was the 60s, a person living with down syndrome having a book and documentary published was quite remarkable.
There is still some information about Nigel online – in particular, an account from one of the owners of the recycling shop who recalled:
“It was our good fortune that Nigel came to work with us when the Camphill Village Trust was setting up a new community in Milton Keynes during 1980-81. Nigel stayed for nearly a year but in his own modest way it was some time before we discovered he’d written a book, and even longer before we were able to obtain a copy of it as the library was out of print. It seemed to us that this book was in urgent need of recycling. Nigel made an enormous difference to the working of the company.”
Nigel stayed with the new community for a few years before moving to Ireland in the mid-80s, but it’s interesting to note that CMKC’s first resident was in fact, a bit of a celebrity – pretty remarkable.
The other resident was Mervyn Thomas. Mervyn was a keen gardener and would role up to the Michael’s Akyre garden most mornings asking what he could do to help or decide for himself what needed doing, grab a hoe and head off to do his own thing. He was like the Community’s benevolent uncle and was adored by everyone. John H, a former co-worker, shared an amazing story about Mervyn, which is recounted below.
Mervyn could become a bit grumpy now and again and could be heard muttering to himself in a somewhat disgruntled manner. When asked what was up, he would mumble something about a “trophy” or “I should have won that trophy, you know”. It was difficult to get to the bottom of this story, which had clearly upset him a great deal at some point. One of his unique gifts was the ability to play the saw with a violin bow. He could sometimes be persuaded to play on special occasions, and some eerily beautiful and ethereal tunes would drift out from his ever flexing saw. No one was quite sure, but it was assumed that Mervyn had taken part in a talent contest where he had played his saw at some time in his past. Somehow he had narrowly missed winning the top prize, a silver trophy. Mervyn suspected that there had been something underhand about the judging process and he felt somehow cheated by the result. It had clearly bothered him ever since.
When the pace of life at CMKC eventually became too much, he moved to a retirement home on the coast. Before leaving CMKC, he was presented with a surprise gift from the Community at his retirement party. What else but a silver trophy! The look on Mervyn’s face was priceless; a satisfied grin split his face from ear to ear. An ancient injustice had been put to rights. Mervyn remained fondly remembered for many years by all who knew him. When he died, some years later, his photograph was the first to be placed on the wall in the CMKC hall.
Both men have sadly passed away now, but they are an important part of our legacy and history and will be familiar names to many of our older residents.
Pictures: Nigel Hunt’s book, Mervyn playing the saw bow and Nigel and Mark Skinner in Oberlin.
This year, we will be joining Mencap – a fellow charity, to celebrate the Learning Disability Week from the 14th – 20th June.
This is part of our community’s effort to raise awareness, and to celebrate the achievement, talents and contribution made by people with learning disabilities.
This year’s theme is art and creativity. At Camphill Milton Keynes, art and creativity is a very important part of our life. We have so many talented residents, co-workers and staff and their works have been amazing.
In this film, we want to showcase some of the most creative work produced by members of our community.
We will be selling beautiful, handmade textiles made by the talented Art & Craft group.
So if you’re after a hand weaved purse or a table runner, a gift for a loved one or a one-off unique tote bag for your shopping, look no further.
Our Art & Craft Workshop enables all levels of abilities to get involved in learning and developing their artistic skills. From needle work to embroidery, loom weaving and natural dyeing, our talented bunch are master craftspeople!
We are looking to recruit a full-time Garden Workshop Co-ordinator to play a key role in the management and development of our horticultural activities.
The successful candidate will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the gardens and contributing to the development of brand-new garden areas with a focus on accessible workspaces.
Through the seasons you will coach and train service users (adults with learning disability and autism), alongside a small team of staff and volunteers to develop their horticultural skills in a safe and enabling environment.
If this could be you, we want to hear from you! Visit out jobs page to find full details.
We are delighted to announce that our Cafe will re-open to the public on Monday 7th June. Whether you’re after a delicious lunch, a coffee or want to buy our daily baked bread or homemade preserves, we can’t wait to welcome you all!
To ensure the safety of our staff and customers things may be a little different when you visit. Our aim remains the same to create a peaceful atmosphere accompanied by good food and first-class friendly service. You will now be able to purchase our delicious artisan bread, homemade preserves and honey in the Café.
The room previously used as a Shop is now a fantastic new Textile Workshop, and our new Pottery Workshop next door will have open studios for you to visit & meet our skilled crafters and view the range of unique hand-crafts on sale.
Please call to reserve your table in the café from the 1st of June by calling: 01908 308738 And look out for further information in the coming weeks!
Seeing the Maypole standing with its colourful ribbons and Whitsun being on the 23rd of May this year, we were reminded of an article written by Morwenna Bucknall, one of the founders of Camphill Milton Keynes.
Whitsun/Pentecost (50 days after Easter) is celebrated as a Christian event of Jesus’ disciples experiencing the Holy Spirit descending on them, flames appearing above their heads, and being able to speak and be understood in many languages. In Camphill MK with the co-workers who traditionally came from many countries around the world, we increasingly focused on celebrating the languages and cultures of those countries.
We think that Morwenna’s article (below) about the Maypole and Whitsun is very fitting – not just as celebrating a Christian festival but celebrating the humanity of all peoples and the light in each one of us.
Thank you to everyone who took part in our Easter Grand Draw!
And an extra big thanks to Milton-Keynesia and Tesco in Bletchley and Wolverton for their kind donations. The brilliant prizes meant that more of the funds raised could go directly on the projects that develop our innovative offering to continue supporting adults with learning disabilities.
Ethan, our Fundraiser, says ‘The support that we have received for our inaugural Easter Grand Draw has been great, and we have raised around £300 to help develop and improve our community. A recent project that we have been able to complete thanks to our supporters is Camphill Internet Radio which has allowed our community to stay together spiritually whilst keeping apart and social distancing to keep safe during the pandemic.’
We have several great new job opportunities for enthusiastic individuals.
If youwant to be part of a unique Community where people live, work, learn and celebrate life together, read on.
Camphill Milton Keynes Communities is a charity providing unique person-centred support, based on a modern view of the Camphill movement, for adults with learning disabilities and autism. We support our service users in all aspects of their daily lives and believe that each person should be valued for their unique contribution to the community.
We’re hiring enthusiastic individuals to help us with our workshops including:
x2 for our Craft and Textile Workshop x1 for our Drama Workshop x1 for our Newsletter and IT Workshop
If you have passion and experience in a range of handcraft, pottery, art and textile making activities; or teaching drama, IT and literacy skills and want to help adults with learning disabilities, get in touch!