This film is part of Free

Against the Odds The Land Can Provide

By a mixture of bio-dynamics and patience, the co-workers and those with special needs of Botton Village gain satisfaction in eking a living.

Documentary 1986 26 mins Not rated


From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


Focusing on the work of the Botton Camphill Village, this Tyne Tees documentary gives a fascinating insight into the ethos of the community, as it was in 1986, taking us into the heart of a deeply significant ongoing debate on the basic principles of care for those with special needs. In the manner in which it films and interviews the residents with special needs, it also highlights issues around the principles that documentaries of this type should adhere to.

This documentary on the Botton Village community comes 13 years after a similar documentary they made in 1973, ‘Against the Odds the Land Can Provide’, and a year after Yorkshire TV’s 1985 film, ‘No Winners, No Losers’. It also makes for an interesting comparison with Phil Turner’s 2005 film of Botton, ‘The Strangest Village in Britain’ for Channel Four, which related quite differently to the residents with special needs. Botton Village continues to be at the centre of a dispute over the relationship of the co-workers to the learning disabled residents: a conflict between the principles of having giant extended families and integrated work versus supported living and personalisation.