It’s a rainy morning in Manchester and Huw John is soaking wet. He and Bruce, the family Labradoodle, have just got back from the school run.
But with a quick change of clothes and a cuppa on the table, it’s a good time to talk to the man who, in 2011, was appointed Chief Executive of the Camphill Village Trust, the charity which links our family of communities together.
Huw’s role is a new one, created to bring additional support at a time of increasing challenge. ‘The world has changed so much in this hard economic climate’, he says. ‘There has never been a tougher time to be a charity and a social care provider.’
With his thirty years of experience in the public and charity sector, Huw will help ensure our communities continue to thrive and develop. It’s a unique opportunity.
Huw says, ‘Having worked in social care for a very long time, what I find so positive about Camphill is that people don’t focus on their disability. They say “I’m a farmer”, “I work in the shop”, “I am a member of this community”. People in Camphill have purpose – that’s one of the things that makes us so strong, and different. Everyone puts their energy and passion into it. Everybody contributes.
‘Meeting so many really special people has been a highlight – both those who live in our communities and those who support us, to whom I’d like to say a big thank you. I’ve been blown away by the level of support from our friends. Given the tough times we’re in, it’s that support that helps us keep doing things differently and excitingly.’
A typical day for Huw can be summed up in one word. ‘Meetings. Both within the Camphill Village Trust and outside.’ But if he had time to do another Camphill job, what would it be?
‘I’d be tempted by cheese-making, because I love cheese and we produce delicious ones across Camphill. But I’m a keen organic gardener too. When I was a student I worked as a gardener. Those were good days…so though it’s a tough choice, I think it would have to be gardening!’