Char­ity fears loss of EU vol­un­teers

Hun­dreds from over­seas help at Cam­phill sites

The Galloway News - - INTIMATION­S - Stephen Nor­ris

A Gal­loway-based char­ity has voiced con­cerns that Brexit un­cer­tainty could de­ter EU and other cit­i­zens from com­ing to work with them.

The Loch Arthur Cam­phill Com­mu­nity at Beeswing says in­ter­na­tional vol­un­teer work­ers are es­sen­tial to main­tain its ser­vices.

The char­ity runs a suc­cess­ful farm shop, bak­ery and cheese pro­duc­tion op­er­a­tion and counts peo­ple with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties and other sup­port needs among its work­force.

Loch Arthur and ten other Cam­phill Scotland com­mu­ni­ties are sup­ported by 416 vol­un­teer co­work­ers – 346 of them from out­side the UK.

Some 110 of their 469 em­ploy­ees also come from out­side the UK.

Dave Mitchell, chair­man of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Cam­phill com­mu­ni­ties, told the News: “We at Loch Arthur feel the EU cit­i­zens who have come to be part of the com­mu­nity have made an in­cred­i­bly valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to Dum­fries and Gal­loway life.

“All of those peo­ple are very happy to have the op­por­tu­nity to be here and want to be able to con­tinue mak­ing that con­tri­bu­tion.

“We have a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple from the EU in Dum­fries and Gal­loway – far more than peo­ple re­alise – and they greatly add to the cul­tural rich­ness of our re­gion.”

He added: “The ties and re­la­tion­ships be­tween the Cam­phill com­mu­ni­ties in Scotland, in the UK, and in other coun­tries, has been a ma­jor part of the devel­op­ment of our move­ment.

“Any­thing which makes it more dif­fi­cult to sus­tain these key ties and re­la­tion­ships could have sig­nif­i­cant con­se­quences for the fu­ture devel­op­ment of the Cam­phill move­ment and the ed­u­ca­tion, care and sup­port they cur­rently pro­vide to peo­ple with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties and other sup­port needs.”

Cam­phill em­ploy­ees and vol­un­teers sup­port more than 600 peo­ple through a wide range of so­cial, cul­tural and work ac­tiv­i­ties.

The min­is­ter for Europe, mi­gra­tion and in­ter­na­tional devel­op­ment, Ben Macpherson, said: “Scotland is a wel­com­ing and pro­gres­sive coun­try and strongly val­ues the con­tri­bu­tions of all those who choose to make Scotland their home.

“The case is over­whelm­ing for the Scot­tish Govern­ment to be able to set the rules for mi­gra­tion in Scotland in a tai­lored way that will at­tract and re­tain peo­ple with the skills we need.”

Help­ing hands Dave Mitchell of Loch Arthur with EU vol­un­teers in the char­ity’s Beeswing shop

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