What is Camphill?
Camphill Communities of Ireland is part of an international movement working with people with intellectual disabilities and other kinds of special needs.
In Camphill our residents share their home, spiritual and working lives with those who are motivated to meet others as individuals needing support and recognition for who they are, and not as carer and cared for in the conventional sense. Many of the people providing support to those with disabilities are volunteers, coming locally or from abroad, working alongside professional qualified social care staff.
Camphill is a way of life, where each person according to ability contributes what they can towards the well-being of the other.
Pioneered by war refugees in Scotland almost 70 years ago, Camphill today numbers over 100 communities in 20 countries. In the Republic of Ireland, 16 communities of varying sizes and settings are home to around 200 residents and people in supported living arrangements, plus a nearly 100 day-attendees and trainees
Each person with a disability supported by Camphill has different needs. Camphill has responded by establishing centres that cater to those needs, constantly adapting itself to meet changes and challenges as they arise.
At the core of the community is the recognition of the dignity of people with support needs, and the giving and sharing of all in communal life.
In Camphill, we believe that mutual support and respect for each other create a healthy environment for healing and development.
We offer homes for adults with intellectual disabilities and other support needs - to live, learn, and work with others in energetic reciprocal relationships.
Everyone's contribution is valued and individuality is recognised. We acknowledge every person's right to equality and self-determination and encourage participation in decision-making in work, social, cultural, spiritual, and home life.
The different communities in Camphill include:
- Training centres providing further education and training
- Mutual help communities for adults with varying degrees of intellectual disability and other support needs
- Working residential communities for adults
- Enterprise projects with work experience opportunities for residents from the communities and day attendees
- Independent, supported accommodation.
Learning from each other
The gesture of mutuality allows us to flourish and grow with one another every day, through the seasons, in rhythm with the ebb and flow of life.
Whatever we do in community, as individuals and as a group, our residents and staff weave a pattern of reciprocal relationships wherein our deeds find their corresponding echoes in the actions of the other.
We Have 16 Special Needs Communities
In the Republic of Ireland we have 16 communities including over 500 residents, volunteers and staff members, many land-based, where we endeavour to create places that promote healing and growth in and around nature.
Care for the land is a central part of our work. Our communities practice bio-dynamic agriculture, offering great opportunities for our people to work with organic farming and gardening methods.
Some of our communities are located in urban places, where we run shops and cafes that sell our farm or garden produce, crafts, and baked goods.
A Spiritual Life
Honouring nature and the spiritual world that nurture and sustain us is an essential component of Camphill life. We are very much conscious of the seasons of the year and celebrate their festivals in various ways, through plays or harvest offerings, music or dancing in the halls, or just through moments of silence.
Many of our co-workers are volunteers, Young co-workers usually come for a year of practical experience and then they leave to take up further studies. See Volunteering in Camphill.
Sharing is a Way of Life
We meet each other as individuals and form a community working together in the households and workshops, whether it is in the bakery, pottery or weaving shop, or in the farm or garden. By helping each other fulfil a task, we enrich ourselves and empower the other to develop further in their own special way.
Through our daily work we follow a rhythm of awaking to life and carrying out what needs to be done in the course of the day. And in the evening when we go back to our houses, we settle back to reflect on our deeds and prepare for the next day's challenges.
This website provides more information about the Camphill Communities in Ireland for anyone interested in learning more about our work - for prospective volunteers from abroad, local volunteers, students taking a gap year, or for those who have a relative with special needs.