Coup d’État at Monkton Wyld Court
Operators of “Britain’s Oldest Microdairy” Ordered to Leave the Premises.
The Land Magazine made Homeless.
The head gardener at Monkton Wyld Court ordered to leave, “with immediate effect”.
On 9 May 2023, six trustees of Monkton Wyld Court, an educational charity managed by a long-standing intentional community, ordered two long standing 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 the flagging micro-dairy and neglected farmland. Five of the six trustees who ordered their departure have been trustees of the charity for just four months. The trustees also coerced xxx xxx MBE, 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.
More recently our grower, Jasmine Hills, has been told to leave “with immediate effect” for no given reason. Five other people living and working at MWC are expected to leave in protest, 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 published from MWC, will have to suspend publication until it can locate new offices.
Gill and Simon are accused by one prospective member of the community on a six month trial (aka W.S.) of influencing community decisions through intimidation, but no evidence has been provided as to what decisions have been forced through in this way. 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 and Gill over the last six weeks.
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, it’s verdict being that they were guilty. 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 kangaroo court was that this was a “whistleblowing complaint”. However the 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). Despite repeated requests, the trustees failed to explain what legal advice they had taken that this was a “whistleblowing complaint in the public interest”.
The procedure followed by the trustees, which will make Gill and Simon homeless, is in their view in conflict with Article 5 (Right to a Fair and Public Hearing) and Article 8 (Right to Respect for the Home). The unproven allegations of bullying are defamatory.
On the NEWS page, Simon explains 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 email@example.com. We are forging an evidence-based case that we will forward 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Judge for yourself: full documentation of the matter, including W.S.’s complaint, Kelly Marsden’s report and Simon’s Proof of Evidence, etc can be sent to you: write to – email@example.com
More information will be posted on this website on the NEWS page as it comes in.
Further details of what sounds like a real stitch-up: