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Coup d’État by New Trustees at Monkton Wyld Court

Seven residential workers, out of no more than eleven, ordered to leave the premises.

The microdairy closed down and its operators told to remove the cows from the premises.

The head gardener ordered to leave and suspend work in the walled garden and told she will be reported for theft if she sells the veg she has grown.

The Land Magazine made homeless.

A failure to properly redact the names of witnesses to the HR Teams investigation has enabled us to obtain Incontrovertible evidence, that the HR Team misrepresented the statements given by these witnesses – DOWNLOAD HERE

On 9 May 2023, six trustees of Monkton Wyld Court, an educational charity managed by a long-standing intentional community, ordered two members of the community to leave. Gill Barron (73) and Simon Fairlie (72) have been living and working at MWC since 2010, when they joined the community to revive its flagging micro-dairy and neglected farmland. Five of the six trustees who ordered their departure have been trustees of the charity for less than four months. The trustees also coerced xxxxxx into resigning from the board of trustees. She had been a trustee for 15 years, and had spoken up in favour of Gill and Simon. Two other trustees have recently resigned.

In May 2023, our grower, Jasmine Hills, has been told to leave “with immediate effect” for no given reason. Seven other people living and working at MWC have been ordered to leave by Trustees, and the community and charity are in meltdown. As a result the microdairy, which dates back to 1941 and is probably the oldest established dairy of its size in the UK will have to shut down. The Land magazine, a highly respected journal based at MWC, will have to suspend publication until it can locate new offices.

Gill and Simon are accused by Stephen Williams, a prospective member of the community on a six-month trial, of influencing community decisions through intimidation; but no evidence has been provided as to what decisions have been forced through in this way. Gill does not even attend meetings. They are also accused by the same complainant of bullying. The Anti-Bullying Alliance defines bullying as “The repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power.” Nothing that Simon and Gill are alleged to have done in any way matches this description. In fact it is more accurate as a description of how the trustees have treated Simon, Gill and Jasmine over the last many months.

The trustees commissioned an investigation into these allegations from a poorly qualified HR consultant, without allowing Simon or Gill to view the complaints or any other evidence against them, so they could not respond to the allegations. Simon and Gill only saw the complaints when the report of the investigation was delivered upholding the allegations. Other evidence still remains “redacted”. They were summoned to a “disciplinary procedure” a few days later which ordered them to leave Monkton Wyld.

The justification for this Kafaka-esque procedure was that this was a “whistleblowing complaint”. However Employment Rights legislation states: “Personal grievances (for example bullying, harassment, discrimination) are not covered by whistleblowing law, unless your particular case is in the public interest.” (www.gov.uk/whistleblowing). Our solicitor, who has 26 years experience in employment law drafted a letter on behalf of Simon to the trustees informing them that “All legal cases involving PIDA and the government and ACAS guidance on PIDA are clear that internal complaints of the nature raised by Stephen Williams, are not ‘disclosures’ and should be dealt with using internal grievance procedures. The non-justified use of PIDA has been relied upon by the Trustees as an excuse to override and ignore the clear process that is set out in the Community Staff Handbook for dealing with internal grievances and conflict resolution and disciplinary matters.”

The procedure followed by the board of trustees, which will make Gill and Simon homeless, appears to be in conflict with Natural Justice and with Article 5 (Right to a Fair and Public Hearing) and Article 8 (Right to Respect for the Home) of the Human Rights Act. The unproven allegations of bullying are defamatory.

On the TIMELINE OF EVENTS page, it’s explained step by step how this happened, as a cautionary tale for those who put their faith in charities as a social structure. They are inherently undemocratic, making them vulnerable to “carpetbaggers” who can acquire considerable power over the future of the charity in a short time and without investing a penny of their own money.

If you wish to raise a complaint about the way the trustees have acted, you can do so by emailing the trustees monktonwyldtrustees@gmail.com. We have put together an evidence-based case that we have forwarded to the Charity Commission alleging that –

• that the charity is not doing what it claims to (ie it is getting rid of its flagship educational facility, the farm);

• it is harming people (namely Gill, Simon, Jasmine and all those affected);

• that it is endangering the financial position of the charity, by forcing the farm business to move, by firing key workers, by prompting the resignation of other workers, by prejudicing the attractiveness of the venue to much of its clientele, and by disrupting the functioning of the community that has successfully and profitably managed the charity for the last 15 years;

• and it is conducting disciplinary hearings of questionable lawfulness (see posts).

If you wish to support our complaint to the Charity Commission, please email chapter7@tlio.org.uk

More information will be posted on this website on the THIS page as it comes in.

Fantastic support for our cause at the Scythe Fair – thanks to all who signed