Incredible craftwork is just one of the benefits of our workshops  

May 31, 2022

Our well established belief is that all young people need – and can have – a sense of achievement, belonging and reach their full potential. This is firmly at the heart of our ethos here at Camphill School Aberdeen.

Our varied workshop programme is one of the many ways we enable young people to build their confidence, independence and unlock their potential – often achieving outcomes that their families never thought possible.

When 20-year-old Ross joined us, he was confused and had great difficulties connecting with the young adult programme or building relationships. Today he is thriving with huge improvements in both his behaviour and outlook on life.

“When Ross first came to CSA’s Learning for Life Day services he struggled with the thought of becoming an adult, what that actually meant for him and how it would help him going forward in life.

Ross has Autism and chronic OCD and didn’t engage in any workshops. He had a backpack full of gaming devices and would immerse himself in his games and not acknowledge anyone or anything. I spent a lot of time with Ross, trying to build trust and mutuality in our relationship (we both have cats and talk about them a lot). All the while trying to find the right programme to fit his needs.

Ross has now built up a familiar routine with workshops that he is interested in and developed trusting relationship with the workshop leaders to bring him out of his shell,” says Kasia Stopper, our Day Student Coordinator.

Ross favourite workshop is FRUVER – our organic farm and refilllery shop which also acts as an internal distribution centre - where he has set tasks. He has begun really engaging with our new kitchen workshop too, as Ross loves cooking. He still brings in his devices and uses them but only on set moments like morning break and after lunch.

Our 15 craft and land workshops provide an essential extension of the formal curriculum. They span areas such as woodwork, art, weaving, felting, pottery and metal jewellery making as well as vocational topics such as bike repair, gardening, farming, helping at the stables and in our refillery shop. Each workshop is underpinned by their therapeutic benefit and based on the principles of environmental sustainability and the circular economy.

Tailored programmes reflect individual’s interests and abilities. They are developed by our workshop leaders who have experience and knowledge in each individual craft, land-based or social enterprise activity. Each workshop leader is trained to work with people who have additional support needs, which ensures they can create meaningful experiences for young people to reach their full potential.

“The students weave table runners for the residential houses, they grow the fruits and vegetables we eat, they bake the bread for our morning toast, and mend the bikes we ride. Each young person has meaningful work experience and contributes to running our community here,” added Kasia.

Our young people often struggle in mainstream education and other care options - but thrive at Camphill School Aberdeen. Our students develop skills for life, employment and social skills that go beyond the world of work and throughout their time at Camphill the students work towards certified internal STARS Awards specific to each workshop.

Equally important is the therapeutic value that the workshops provide. Science now recognises that the rhythmic use of crafts greatly benefits young people with learning disabilities. They experience psychological, physical and social improvements, something our founder Karl Konig recognised long before it became science.

Kasia continued: “Ross is now responsible for preparing FRUVER orders and loves to undertake tasks that contribute to the running of the estate. Having these responsibilities and purpose has completely transformed Ross’s behaviour, which at times was challenging, he is now content and truly fulfilled.”

Our approach integrates education, meaningful work experience and skill development, therapies and expert care in a holistic therapeutic environment with onsite medical support.  

We recently launched a major fundraising campaign to raise £10 million over the next 10 years to enable us to expand our services to even more children and young people who need us. Find out more at -


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