DO MAKE USE of LINKS,
>SEARCH<
&
>Side Bars<
&
The Top Bar >PAGES<

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~

.
Camphill Village Trust CHARITY – Taurus Craft on ‘Trip Advisor’ …
.
~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~

Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

eMail:
Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

The BLOG:
https://InfoWebSiteUK.wordpress.com

The Main Web Site:
www.InfoWebSite.UK

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE
08-Jun-2018.

PLEASE BE ADVISED
I comment in my own opinion on my own beliefs
ALSO  Please note I am acting in good faith
with the aim to maximise
The opportunities at Taurus Craft.
ALSO I Comment WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Hi,

Greg L-W

Posting on Trip Advisor:
@https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g1161054-d2641449-Reviews-Taurus_Crafts-Lydney_Forest_of_Dean_Gloucestershire_England.html

Or CLICK HERE

 

Camphill Village Trust CHARITY – Taurus Craft.

I have scored this at 3:
1 for ease of parking
1 for the access to the excellent Nursery/Garden Centre
1 for the small number of indipendent outlets!

Some may be aware that ‘Fawlty Towers’ was used by many as training material as to how not to ….

Sadly CVT seems to have taken over that role at Taurus Craft!

– No one wears name tags so you have no idea whether you are talking to the manager or a severely challenged helper – to look at the new layout on which clearly much was casually spent the design was by an unaided helper!

Similarly it is all too visible they also manage staff relations & if not FIRE the HR department, who had the contempt for the staff that they irresponsibly had cafe staff working out of doors in sub zero temperatures during the alterations!

Presumably there are insufficient professional catering management as all too often the service is just a muddle, over Easter you had over 15 minute wait for a coffee and there was food on the floor, in both areas, that no one made any effort to clean up! All delegation & no understanding of common courtesy, often from obvious relief management.

This is a magnificent venue but clearly lacks the first elements of sound management, whether because of poor remuneration or poor management selection. It seems prevalent at every level. Net result as downward loyalty & support is clearly a failure upward loyalty seems non existent.

Fire the management & find someone with exuberant enthusiasm to revitilise the truelly notable potential of the site, with events of some sort EVERY weekend & this could become a must go to venue and earn a fortune for the Trust.

As the general standard leaves so much to be desired I have deliberately not discussed this with any staff members, nor named the very small number of individuals who do not earn the criticism herein.

Having been a visitor for many years and having a regular interest in the Charity I have refrained from comment previously, in the clearly vain hope of improvement.

I would refrain from comment normally but you are in my opinion a venue of public concern as you are a Charity! To squander the opportunity this site grants you is clearly an abuse of your Charity status; in a manner which leads me to question whether the trustees are aware of the issues.

My comments are made in sadness & I fear will merely lead to a panic of CYA management & virtue signalling when clearly I have had sufficient concern to give a detailed outline based on experience & local knowledge.

I would like an excellent & varied attraction locally as it would be so good for the charity, the area and myself, family & friends. Good luck – I hope someone has the bottle to address the problems which so explain why so many looks so miserable at Taurus!

Greg_L-W.

Ask Greg L about Taurus Crafts

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

wendyfirkin, General Manager at Taurus Crafts, responded to this reviewResponded 4 days ago

Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your visits and we are sorry that the standards didn’t match your expectations. The experiences of our customers are important to us and clearly we have fallen short here. We value all feedback and would like to invite you in to meet the management for a coffee (which we assure you wont take 15 minutes to arrive) and to talk through your concerns. If you would like to contact the office we can arrange a time to suit you best.

To view the original conversation to date as posted on ‘Trip Advisor’
CLICK HERE 

My Response on 05-May-2018:

As it is clear that Local Management have responded and Head Office Management have been kept informed – as I mailed them a copy of my original comments, together with my full name Address & Phone Number so that they could take issue with my opinions, if they wished.

I now feel, since the local staff have responded with a potentially constructive suggestion, it is incumbent on me to make the effort to seek to respond constructively.

I have found it is not possible to respond on Trip Advisor, where I believe the conversation should continue to ensure maximum benefit for the Charity, in an open and transparent manner! I have therefore responded on my own blog where anyone is welcome to make constructive comments how best the Charity can take advantage of the excellent venue they have to the benefit of the Charity itself – which must surely be the primary aim.

You will find my response at:
https://gl-w.com/2018/05/05/camphill-villiage-trust-charity-taurus-craft-on-trip-advisor/
should you receive this information in the form of a copy paste eMail or should you wish to pass on the URL to others to join the conversation. You will note my name, Address, phone number & eMail address clearly herein and on the web site.

I shall respond directly to Ms. Firkin’s suggestion eventually and I will eMail details of this blog, URL & in some cases a copy, to interested parties and those I consider should be interested.

I have never read other people’s entries on Trip Advisor until Ms Firkin’s response to me, as their opinions were of little interest to me, as I was well aware of Taurus Craft as an occasional visitor over some 20+ years and since my retirement from founding building and running a retail business in the area since 1982 I have become a regular visitor, customer and client at the venue and at its various events.

I, my wife, family and friends we have brought have over the years contributed several £1,000s to the tills at the venue!

I did not read the postings of others, largely as I had an opinion of my own, which I believed it was my duty to voice, unclouded by the opinions of others, many of whom shelter in anonimity or are unidentifiable and thus may well be pseudonims or faux identities to hide the fact they are family and friends posting false entries for the benefit of staff members locally or local management – thus I discount many of the more platitudinous entries, that I have read since my original comments a week ago!

I am astonished at just howmany bad comments there are overall  and just howmany seemingly praising the venue are platitudinous – I feel my suspicions of Trip Advisor are confirmed, in terms of its dubious value, and that an open conversation is blocked seems to confirm the view! This is clearly not a criticism of CVT or Taurus Craft but of the nature of Trip Advisor itself!

I have also been surprised at the many comments made to me in confidence, since my public input, by people who visit the venue and even a number who work there from time to time, and those who have worked there in the past.

Clearly cafe staff working out of doors in sub zero temperatures was very much a final straw for many – Knowing staff were being forced to work under such conditions I and my wife visited in their support 3 times during that period – I made no issue of it but due to the difficult conditions the coffee they served was clearly an embarrassment to them and to be fair it was awful! I quietly poured mine away, I haven’t checked to see if the grass is still growing.

Many who have commented to me have raised the point that they felt that under employment terms the action must surely have been illegal and at very least it reflected diabolically on the Trust itself.

The Trust is a Charity which has assumed a duty of care for those it ostensibly cares for, yet clearly has little but contempt for its own staff & so called supported workers. One wonders what goes on behind closed doors if they can act so brazenly!

Many others who have commented on my original posting have voiced their opinion that it is not before time that someone spoke out and they could not find a single point I had made to be inaccurate or unfair. I was surprised at the unanimity from clients, visitors, stall holders, independent traders, ex employees and even a few staff who have had the courage to approach me and comment.

Sadly the consensus of opinion would seem to be utterly damning – not one individual has sought to disagree with my comments and the general consensus reflects what most think of the local management; in that they keep making comments such as:

  • ‘be carefull or they will ban you,’
  • ‘they never took any notice of their own staff and tennants and now they no longer even have meetings as staff & tennants used them to air grievances and criticism’,
  • ‘you don’t think you’ll be able to really improve anything do you’,
  • ‘aren’t you worried they will bully staff and those they believe to be your friends trying to blame them’.

That this is the general tennor of comment, by those working at and clients at Taurus Craft indicates to me that the local management clearly lack the skills required to run the facility for the benefit of the Trust, even if the Trust thinks otherwise they would be well advised to consider just how they themselves are perceived, when their public face is so clearly seen as dangerous, unpleasant, arrogant and inept by so many!

This leads me to the conclussion that central management needs to take a hard look at itself and ask if they are working in the best intertests of the Trust and making the most of the opportunities for the Charity, in keeping with the good work it has done over the years.

Perhaps the Central Management are aware and Trustees and Directors are merely indifferent but I would hope not however it is clear they do not have a grip on the situation at Taurus Craft – one is forced to ask if this was also the case at their other local venue, which from gossip I have heard is to close and the property be sold!

I am 72 and my awareness and interest in the Trust and CVT’s work goes back to when I was 14 and a cousin of similar age was helped by CVT over many years, as he was a Grand Mal Epileptic sufferer – though I am sure there is a modern PC nomenclature for the malady, as there seems to be for so much else these days, sweeping so many basic challenges individuals and families suffer from under the carpet. So very clearly showing the dishonesty and damage being done under the guise of aesopian linguistics.

Little wonder The Frankfurt School latched onto the concept when so clearly that organisation seeks deliberately, if clandestinely, to undermine Western Society & Western values for their owners the FSB!

In direct response to Ms Firkin’s suggestion:

Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your visits and we are sorry that the standards didn’t match your expectations. The experiences of our customers are important to us and clearly we have fallen short here. We value all feedback and would like to invite you in to meet the management for a coffee (which we assure you wont take 15 minutes to arrive) and to talk through your concerns. If you would like to contact the office we can arrange a time to suit you best.

To view the original conversation to date as posted on ‘Trip Advisor’
CLICK HERE 

I believe a meeting would be a very good idea. Clearly this is not just an issue that can be solved at a local level, as I fear it clearly involves national management & is perceived to be a long term problem, may I suggest as my time is generally more readily flexible, being both local and retired, I am happy, with a weeks notice, to attend between 14:00hrs. & 18:00hrs. any weekday that is convenient for one of CVT’s Directors, one of its Trustees, its Marketing Director & the Head of Human Resources, together with any other parties the Directors may feel are appropriate.

May I again assure you not one word of my intent to commence this discussion, nor any specific issue herein was discussed with any employee of CVT prior to my original comment, nor was anyone, other than my wife, aware that I was posting the original comments prior to their being posted though serveral have confidentially commented since.

This is not about personalities as individuals but about functions, competence, attitude and suitability of individuals.

This is not about what Taurus Craft is achieving for CVT but very much about what Taurus Craft COULD, and as a Charity SHOULD be achieving – and how can the potential of this excellent site be exploited more competently to the gain of CVT as a Charity.

Results are unlikely, even with the radical senior management input needed, to be overnight; I would expect this to be the first of a series of many open and transparent meetings involving a range of people, including staff, tennants, event storeholders and where possible concerned clients to maximise on the potential available on the site – There is a huge pool of goodwill that when the right management is appointed locally can be persuaded to assist.

Possibly considering joint marketing with CoinRoss and also Lord Bledesloe’s various enterprises and local organisations.

Consider:

He who whispers down a well
About the product which he has to sell
Will not make as many Dollars
As he who climbs a tree and hollars!

I wonder for instance if anyone has considered setting up a Friends/Members of Taurus Craft organisation who could act as goodwill ambassadors for the organisation at various other organisations and also perhaps participate in an organising committee to help – Goodwill is readily available if approached in the right manner with some dynamism by the right individual of competence in the organisation.

The potential is huge and over the years the site would consistently seem to have under performed and few with knowledge of it would seem to do more than damn it with feint praise. Possibly the apparent atmosphere of cronyism needs to be overhauled at the same time, minded the endeavour is for the challenged who are dependent on the Charity not a sinecure for its staff & chums!

I look forward to meeting your Directors and senior management to endeavour to formulate a way forward as Taurus Craft is obviously potentially a great asset for the Charity which can both benefit from and be of benefit to Lydney, the local area and The Forest of Dean as its Southern Gateway.

You may find the following contact points of help IF YOU wish to comment constructively or help in any way:

Camphill Village Trust:
https://www.cvt.org.uk/

Camphill Village Trust – Trustees & Officers
https://www.cvt.org.uk/about-us/trustees-officers

Taurus Crafts:
https://www.cvt.org.uk/communities/taurus-crafts

Coinros Nursery:
CLICK HERE

Wye Valley & Forest of Dean Review:
revieweditor@theforestreview.co.uk

.

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

A copy of this has been eMailed to:
CVT: trustoffice@cvt.org.uk
Taurus Craft: enquire@tauruscrafts.co.uk

Forest of Dean Review: revieweditor@theforestreview.co.uk
Other interested Parties.

RESPONSE RECEIVED 07-May-2018

Having checked the identity of Ms. E.B. and asked their permission I am publishing her response without ID or eMail address:

Seriously though, what we don’t know is just how much pressure, in the way of workload,and targets has been heaped upon the local management team by the directors of CVT. It maybe that it’s as much a lack of time and resources in the Lydney office, rather than said teams lack of expertise, which has led to this shortfall in delivery of the sites potential. 

That’s me playing Devils advocate as I have only “anecdotal” knowledge of this “possibly” being the a factor. Again, looking for balance, it’s possible that following a prolonged period of highly prescriptive management by the previous site head, an extremely “strong” character as you will remember, that incumbent staff will have slipped into behaviour patterns which are (maybe) more insular and less proactive than ideal…not a defence but this would not have helped the incoming, now current manager (who has little choice but to work with what they’ve inherited…good and bad). 

Shaking things up from time to time is both healthy and necessary for ALL businesses in my experience, the response of said business to the shaking tells one everything one needs to know of it’s current management culture……I’m hoping for, rather than expecting, a positive outcome! 
Point by point my response is:
Seriously though, what we don’t know is just how much pressure, in the way of workload,and targets has been heaped upon the local management team by the directors of CVT. It maybe that it’s as much a lack of time and resources in the Lydney office, rather than said teams lack of expertise, which has led to this shortfall in delivery of the sites potential. 
IF the central directors are heaping work of another nature on Taurus staff I would submit as I have said this is a CVT issue NOT a local issue and still requires correcting as being those charged to manage Taurus Craft it is clear they are failing, you merely offer a possible excuse for their palpable failure.

That’s me playing Devils advocate as I have only “anecdotal” knowledge of this “possibly” being the a factor. Again, looking for balance, it’s possible that following a prolonged period of highly prescriptive management by the previous site head, an extremely “strong” character as you will remember, that incumbent staff will have slipped into behaviour patterns which are (maybe) more insular and less proactive than ideal…not a defence but this would not have helped the incoming, now current manager (who has little choice but to work with what they’ve inherited…good and bad). 
The local office staff pass themselves off as the local management – it is therefore incumbent on them to manage! Not merely coast on using the situation as it is as an excuse. Be minded that we have just had a major Bank Holiday – not only was there not a single event to capitalise on it but nor was there a credible member of the alleged management present or at least visible on any of the 3 days.
Astonishingly the large tent has been erected in the garden area for a considerable time and clearly with a minimal effort this could have housed an event, or if security overnight is a problem with a bit of effort 3 separate events could have been held over the bankholiday!
Merely junior local stand ins and supported workers and the shop staff in the 2 gift shops.

Shaking things up from time to time is both healthy and necessary for ALL businesses in my experience, the response of said business to the shaking tells one everything one needs to know of it’s current management culture……I’m hoping for, rather than expecting, a positive outcome! 
Clearly I agree with you on these points and based on experience of Taurus Craft over many years I have extremely low expectations of a positive outcome, that should have occurred long ago and without prompting – that does not mitigate the right to acquit on one’s duty when considering either a public service or a charity that is clearly not maximising its potential.
An example of the problems: To enter the cafe was all but pointless on Monday afternoon – although it was far from full, there being only 2 individuals seated in the conservatory, however the difficulties of being served were obvious with the queue tailing back to the disabled toilets and staff having to push through the queue to serve such clients as were already seated!
A clear manifestation of the poor design of the new layout as the staff tried to move around and even behind the counter there was the obstruction of THE Pole!
I opted not to remain and wait to be served with 6 ice creams!
Surely a day on which, not only should an event have been organised but had there been competent management present a point at which icecreams and cold drinks could easily have been served or the outside cafe opened – returns would have been considerably higher than when someone forced staff to stand outside in a blizzard to serve no one!
But of course it was a weekend when the site is at its busiest and when no competent executive management ever seem to work!
As those who know me will be well aware I have never suffered from a ‘blind eye’ to such problems. Nor have I been inclined to fail to follow through to the best of my ability, with some notable successes in the past.
I hope this answers some of your points Ms. E.B., to your satisfaction.
Thank you for taking the trouble to respond and also for taking an interest.
In view of your extensive local knowledge and obvious knowledge & interest in CVT & Taurus Craft over the years, as was immediately shown in your eMail, I believe it would unarguably be of benefit to the trust if you would be prepared to consider joining in any meetings CVT may be willing to have to improve the returns for, the service they seek to provide.
10-May-2018 ADDITION
I wonder if Taurus Craft has made any effort to take advantage of the fact that Mark Harper is chairman of ‘The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Learning Disability’.
Mark Harper is our local MP surely advantage for both Taurus Craft & Camphill Village Trust can me made.
Perhaps if staff running Taurus Craft were to make an effort and organise an apposite event Mark Harper could be called upon to open and be patron of the funds raised on the day, a bit of glad handing and a brief speech on behalf of his committee and its work and a director or trustee of CVT could attend and explain their work – this would attract press and if managed well local radio and local TV.
Come on show us what you can do as many people seem to believe you are asleep on the job and failing to maximise the opportunities available at Taurus Craft and thereby failing to realise your potential as a charity.

Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Conservative, Forest of Dean

The all-party parliamentary group on learning disability, which I have the honour to chair, will be looking at this area of policy later this year. Mencap, which provides the group’s secretariat, has a Treat Me Well campaign, which is about improving the position, and I know it is keen to work with the NHS. Drawing on some of the other questions, may I ask the Minister what she can do to get the NHS and all the providers to act with a real sense of urgency in making improvements in this regard with the speed that we would like?

Wouldn’t it have been good if CVT had already been linked by Mark Harper to ‘Treat Me Well’ and ‘Mencap’ in a manner Mark Harper could have mentioned his constituency and ‘Taurus Craft’ in the recent speech he gave in Parliament, which I have quoted from Hansard!

RESPONSE RECEIVED 11-May-2018

Firkin <wendy.firkin@cvt.org.uk>

Fri 11/05, 13:42

Greg Lance-Watkins

 
Inbox
 Dear Mr Lance-Watkins

I am pleased that you have accepted my invitation to meet with me, following your review on trip advisor.  We take all feedback seriously and are happy to listen to your concerns.  I would like to suggest that we meet on either the 7th or 14th of June from 2pm – 3pm.  My colleague, Annabel Arkless, Director of Fundraising, will be in attendance.

Regards

Wendy Firkin
Centre Manager

Taurus Crafts

Tel 01594 844841 

www.tauruscrafts.co.uk

Taurus Crafts is part of The Camphill Village Trust

The Camphill Village Trust Ltd is a non-profit company limited by guarantee 539694 England

Registered Charity Number in England & Wales: 232402

Registered Office: The Kingfisher Offices, 9 Saville Street, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 7LL

I shall spend the coming weekend & the week that follows listening to the comments of friends, associates and those who are clients of the various aspects of Taurus Craft and/or residents of the area.

I shall respond having taken soundings in accord with those comments later next week ie by about the 18th., naturally in the interest of widespread interest and transparency I will publish my respone here.

At the moment I am disinclined to accept the apparent effort to confine this to being merely a justification effort by the local management and I refer you to my original suggestion (posted above) – to maximise the results.

 

RESPONSE RECEIVED 17-May-2018

Taurus Crafts meeting

Wendy Firkin <wendy.firkin@cvt.org.uk>

Yesterday, 17:52Greg Lance-Watkins

Dear Mr Lance-Watkins
As I have not heard back from you I just wanted to check my email has been received. I was also wondering because of the need to make travel and diary arrangements if you could let us know which date suited you best. We would appreciate hearing back by May 24 or we may need to reschedule.
 
Regards
 
Wendy

Wendy Firkin

Centre Manager
Taurus Crafts
Tel 01594 844841
www.tauruscrafts.co.uk

Noting the timeline of previous conversations & the suggested meeting time a month ahead – Since there is an event on this Sunday, with the aim of being more constructive I shall probably respond by eMail with my views & confirmation that I believe a meeting without the presence of at least one Board Director & one Trustee + the head of HR would be a complete waste of time.
We are talking here of Ms Firkin’s suggestion of a meeting with her, when clearly it is more about her than it should be with her! As I made abundantly, if more tactfully, clear when proposing a meeting involving senior management.
You will note the local manager has ceased meetings with her own tennants at the site and the feedback is clear that they don’t trust her to not act punitivly if they disagree and therefore several seek to curry favour, to protect their livelihoods and others fail to contribute constructively, for the same reason.

RESPONSE MADE TO:
CVT’s TAURUS CRAFT LOCAL STAFF
21-May-2018

Attention Taurus Craft Local Manager
Ms. Wendy Firkin,

21-May-2018

Firkin <wendy.firkin@cvt.org.uk>

Dear Ms. Firkin,

thank you for your response to my suggestion of a meeting.

You will have noted that I had posted my outline thoughts on such a meeting originally, although you were kind enough to consider my suggestion and offer to meet with me yourself and chose to be supported by the presence of one of CVT’s (I presume) fund raising directors – I note with interest Annabel Arkless whom you suggested does not feature on CVT’s web site as either a Trustee or an officer of the charity.

I feel this falls very short of the suggestion I made. On almost every count.

In order to ensure there is no further misunderstanding I post again my original suggestion as follows:

I believe a meeting would be a very good idea. Clearly this is not just an issue that can be solved at a local level, as I fear it clearly involves national management & is perceived to be a long term problem, may I suggest as my time is generally more readily flexible, being both local and retired, I am happy, with a weeks notice, to attend between 14:00hrs. & 18:00hrs. any weekday that is convenient for one of CVT’s Directors, one of its Trustees, its Marketing Director & the Head of Human Resources, together with any other parties the Directors may feel are appropriate.

May I again assure you not one word of my intent to commence this discussion, nor any specific issue herein was discussed with any employee of CVT prior to my original comment, nor was anyone, other than my wife, aware that I was posting the original comments prior to their being posted though serveral have confidentially commented since.

This is not about personalities as individuals but about functions, competence, attitude and suitability of individuals.

This is not about what Taurus Craft is achieving for CVT but very much about what Taurus Craft COULD, and as a Charity SHOULD be achieving – and how can the potential of this excellent site be exploited more competently to the gain of CVT as a Charity.

Results are unlikely, even with the radical senior management input needed, to be overnight; I would expect this to be the first of a series of many open and transparent meetings involving a range of people, including staff, tennants, event storeholders and where possible concerned clients to maximise on the potential available on the site – There is a huge pool of goodwill that when the right management is appointed locally can be persuaded to assist.

Possibly considering joint marketing with CoinRoss and also Lord Bledesloe’s various enterprises and local organisations.

Consider:

He who whispers down a well
About the product which he has to sell
Will not make as many Dollars
As he who climbs a tree and hollars!

I wonder for instance if anyone has considered setting up a Friends/Members of Taurus Craft organisation who could act as goodwill ambassadors for the organisation at various other organisations and also perhaps participate in an organising committee to help – Goodwill is readily available if approached in the right manner with some dynamism by the right individual of competence in the organisation.

The potential is huge and over the years the site would consistently seem to have under performed and few with knowledge of it would seem to do more than damn it with feint praise. Possibly the apparent atmosphere of cronyism needs to be overhauled at the same time, minded the endeavour is for the challenged who are dependent on the Charity not a sinecure for its staff & chums!

I look forward to meeting your Directors and senior management to endeavour to formulate a way forward as Taurus Craft is obviously potentially a great asset for the Charity which can both benefit from and be of benefit to Lydney, the local area and The Forest of Dean as its Southern Gateway.

You may find the following contact points of help IF YOU wish to comment constructively or help in any way:

Camphill Village Trust:
https://www.cvt.org.uk/

Camphill Village Trust – Trustees & Officers
https://www.cvt.org.uk/about-us/trustees-officers

Taurus Crafts:
https://www.cvt.org.uk/communities/taurus-crafts

Coinros Nursery:
CLICK HERE

Wye Valley & Forest of Dean Review:
revieweditor@theforestreview.co.uk

.

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

A copy of this has been eMailed to:
CVT: trustoffice@cvt.org.uk
Taurus Craft: enquire@tauruscrafts.co.uk

I believe that the aim of the meeting is, and should be, to maximise the achievements of Taurus Craft as both a representation and income source for and of CVT – You will have noted from the details on the web site at:
https://gl-w.com/2018/05/05/camphill-village-trust-charity-taurus-craft-on-trip-advisor/

or: CLICK HERE (One & the same)

Far more detail is shared and clearly a cosy chat over a generously offered coffee in your offices where you will be ‘supported’ by an associate, designed to last upto one hour is hardly in keeping with either the aim of such a meeting or the gravity of the situation – I regret, to me, it sounds all too much like an attempt to indulge in CYA management by stiffling discussion, rather than as I suggested expanding the scope of the meetings to ensure an ongoing improvement.

You will note that I made reference on the web site to the fact that I was delaying response until after the planned event for yesterday (A Food Festival on 20-May-2018)

Although it was a beautiful day with a generous portion of global warming in a largely cold and wet year so far – the car park was full & thus footfall was good after the first hour or so which was something of a slow start, sadly as food fairs go it was something of a portent of a famine to come!

The choice was meagre on the stalls which comprised a few stalls run by small producers of beverage, with considerable duplication and such exceptions as there were were by nature costly. A cheese vendor with a relatively small and proscribed range with little display, Similarly a vendor of salami, a hugely expensive vegetable & fruit vendor claiming to be selling local produce – I presume the apricots were produced locally from Tesco as well the tomatos may well have been! A baker with a predominantly white range of bread, a small table of a gentleman from Tintern vending a few packaged spice mixes and little else.

As for the music I do question whether anyone saw much merit to its repetitive nature interspersed with someone seemingly trying to saw a string instrument in half!

There were not even enough stall holders, ignoring the lack of variety to spread them on the site and the one vendor of beverage in the main courtyard was so disallusioned at the lack of activity that they packed up and left during the lunch period!

As for food available there was the normal range from the cafe, though it was clear having noticed the cook and others of the staff trying to find somewhere to hide to have a smoke now that they are not allowed to talk with shop owners or customers! The idiotic childish measures being taken make the whole enterprise seem much akin to a rather bad girls school with petty rules and endless snippy comments which I assure you are all too obvious to any observant clients! Overhearing staff talking to eachother and the style of their interface makes it all too clear that even by past experiences this is far from a happy place to work!

I opted to have a snack with my wife, a member of staff, a shopkeeper and another client in the main courtyard, where it was easy to observe, listen to ajoining conversations and chat with passing friends and acquaintences – it was informative!

Between us we ordered 3 slices of pizza & 2 of the burgers on sale. My wife and I having seen the quality of the coffee from the garden coffee opted for capuchinno from the main cofe! The pizza’a were unpleasant having been made with the very blandest and cheapest cheese and were the thinnest pizza dough possible – no other ingredients not even olive, capper, mushroom, tomato or the like save a 1/2inch wide band of slightly burnt very thin meat of some sort around the edge, a total rip off at £3 a slice!

Interestingly the pizza vendors confirmed they had had an abismal day!

The burgers, I am assured, were from the Taurus Craft outlet, I am also assured, the quality was shameful being a plain bap with little in it besides the very cheapest of burger patees one customer said it was akin to a bap with the cardboard box as the filling – both who had burgers declined to finish them!

Although it was convenient for the many customers of CoinRos Nursery to be able to push trolley loads of plants down to the car park it was particularly galling for the shops that no effort was made to spread the stalls around the site to encourage customer circulation!

Judging by the many empty tables in the Conservatory and the abundance of space in the main cafe on each occassion I entered I would hazard a guess that it is unlikely the main cafe increased its turnover, relative to a normal summer Saturday by much over 15% – when it comes to comparisson with last year the turnover should be dramaticly higher in view of the 2 notable price rises and the 10s of £1,000s spent on the folly of the new layout!

I thought the previous events this year were singularly unmemorable save to a miniscule niche market as with ‘Slime making’ for small children! Sadly this Sunday’s event excelled itself in terms of memorability but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.

Unless of course the local management at Taurus Craft has its hands & feet bound by the Trustees & Officers of CVT I find it hard to believe that anyone but local mismanagement is at fault, both in lack of professionalism and in the atmosphere inculcated amongst staff and clients.

I regret it is for this reason that I decline the offer of a meeting with you Ms. Firkin, as it is becoming ever clearer that were there to be such a meeting the only option to put this venture back on track and maximise the opportunities of this excellent site, would be to investigate your contract of employment and that of apparent cronies and commence a quest for a competent, energetic and enthusiastic site manager willing to work weekends, as those are the busiest times, and able to recruit senior supporting staff of like abilities.

Clearly this is not a job for jobsworths & PC point scoring at the expense of those it claims to serve – amongst those it is there to serve are not only those in the care of CVT but also both tennants & customers. This seems not to be happening with any degree of competence or enthusiasm.

I trust the Trustees & Officers have the sense of loyalty and responsibility to take this matter forward as I am all too willing to meaningfully assist but frankly I do not suffer time wasting of other people’s making nor do I respect guarded self serving efforts of anyone to hang onto a cushy number, particularly at the expense of a charity.

 

RESPONSE RECEIVED 25-May-2018

Taurus Crafts
Annabel Arkless <annabel.arkless@cvt.org.uk>

Today, 16:11 Greg Lance-Watkins

Dear Mr Lance-Watkins

Thank you for your correspondence regards the café at Taurus Crafts.

Taurus Crafts is an important part of Camphill Village Trust, offering volunteer placements to people with learning disabilities and other needs. For this reason, I was keen to respond to the opinions you presented in your email and on your blog.

 

Sometimes, as with any business, we don’t achieve the high standards we set ourselves. As our local manager Wendy explained in her response to your Tripadvisor review, ‘the experiences of our customers are important to us and clearly we have fallen short here.’

 

Thankfully, these experiences are rare. 80% of those who have reviewed Taurus Crafts on Tripadvisor rated it as either ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’. We’ve received the same positive feedback regards our cafes located in our other communities across England.

 

We trust and respect those who run the café at Taurus Crafts, whether disabled or not, to learn from any mistakes that occur. Getting honest feedback about customers’ experiences is vital to this learning, hence Wendy’s suggestion that you visited and spoke to the two of us about your experiences.

 

The generally positive feedback across our cafes reassures us that there is not a systematic failure of standards across our cafes. It would therefore be excessive, and overbearing, for one of CVT’s Directors, one of its Trustees, its Marketing Director and the Head of Human Resources to be involved in resolving a local issue, as you have suggested. Wendy and I would, however, still welcome a meeting with you at Taurus Crafts.

 

Our team, both disabled and non-disabled, are justifiably proud of the service they provide at Taurus Crafts. We welcome the custom of those who support our charity’s aims to our cafes and communities, and will continue to learn from their feedback.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Annabel Arkless

Fundraising Director

I do appreciate Ms. Arkless taking the trouble to reply with a well thought out letter and note her efforts both to negate the facts I have put forward  and her efforts to confine the issue to merely being effectively a complaint about the restaurant at Taurus Craft, which of course it most clearly was not!

May I suggest Ms. Arkless takes the trouble to re-read the entirity of this blog as I am sure she will be able to deduce that a very small part of my comment relates to the cafe. The bulk of my criticism is far more in depth and relative to the utter ineptitude of the management. It is over simplification akin to her own response that so clearly lies at the heart of the problems at Taurus Craft and how it is perceived by so many.

I also understand her efforts to promote the largely unidentifiable and unsubstantiated platitudinous positive comments on Trip Advisor – a very sound move in marketing terms IF you consider your audience to be unable to see past such marketing ploys.

When it comes to considering the apparent lack of facts put forward by staff, tennants & those dependant on CVT do be minded that few have the security or alternatives to speak out and tell the truth as they are mostly low paid staff dependent on their jobs or are unwaged bonded labour ostensibly being trained and naturally those who have invested in the site are in the invidious position they risk their livelihood or rent rises should they dare to speak out – may I remind Ms. Arkless that to reduce the risk of feedback local management has ceased including tennants in meetings, although they were unlikely to speak out for fear of reprisal showing just how unpleasant the atmosphere is on the site.

Clients, and the public will in the main have insufficient interest to comment, in the realisation that even if they did make suggestions it would be all too likely the local management would, as I cautioned at the outset, indulge in CYA management and seek to localise, minimise and outmanoeuver any suggestions.

I am minded to disagree with much that is said in Ms. Arkless’ carefully fabricated letter, albeit competently presented as a CVT employee, being a Fundraising Director, one wonders what the Director of Fundraising would make of her efforts.

I shall, as previously, delay my response until I have had the opportunity to take soundings as to how others consider it.

I caution that I would willingly go to Court in support of any individual who might find they are being eroneously accused of colluding in my comments, they are made in a spirit of seeking, as I have said already several times, with a view to improving the sad situation and maximising on the value of the entire site both for CVT, those dependent on CVT, the bonded labour, the staff and the area – The Taurus Craft site in its entirety is in my opinion being under utilised and mismanaged to the detriment of all.

When it comes to under utilisation, failure of management and ineptitude even now is clearly visible – Be minded this weekend is a Bank Holiday and absolutely nothing has been organised to capitalise on this fact! Beyond renting one room to an iondividual for them to profit from a children’s ‘Slime School’ Good (profitable) for the exhibitor and no doubt for the cafe, but of little benefit to other unit holders. This is just the sort of time that the excellent venue of Taurus Craft should be maximisimng its opportunity and location, yet local management have made zero effort to maximise either for Taurus Craft or CVT!

It was good to see the cafe functioning well with laughter and banter amongst both staff and customers – although it was busy, clearly the staff were coping and co-operating and seemingly stress free, an unusual situation to notice in the cafe. It was clear more was being achieved with smiles and good humour than one normally sees where putdowns, snippy comments and interference normally leads to poor service, where a smile and apology to a customer kept waiting works miracles – I still contend name and status badges would do a great deal to improve understanding and tollerance, as would be a CVT collection box near the till for small change (It adds up!), also every table would benefit from a well designed leaflet presenting the charity and its venues & aims.

I find it hard to believe Ms. Arkless’ claim that it is just a local vexatious claim regarding the cafe, as she will readily note on re-reading the conversation to date and in the light of the facts I have presented I find it surprising she feels that the Trustees, senior executives, Directors and HR would be disinterested – if she is right what a sad reflection on CVT.

I am not prepared to believe that the Trustees and Directors are disinterested in maximising the assets of the Trust for the benefit of its stated aims!

Minded that edict would seem to be that staff are no longer ‘permitted’ to talk to customers, clients or even tennants and those who smoke are to be found skulking in the bushes either behind the garden cafe or as I have also seen in the bushes by the herb garden – rather than in the designated smoking area presumably to prevent them engaging in any social pleasantries it seems a fair amount of intimidation is taking place to try to minimise the outcome locally – rather than seeking to open up the conversation with the best interests of Taurus Craft and those it serves being the aim.

MY RESPONSE eMAILED & POSTED
06-June-2018

To: Taurus Crafts
Annabel Arkless <annabel.arkless@cvt.org.uk>
From: Greg Lance-Watkins
Dated: 06-Jun-2018
Dear Ms. Arkless,
firstly please accept my apologies for the delay in my response, you will I am sure be pleased to know it was not because I had lost interest in my efforts to assist Taurus Craft in improving its efforts on behalf of those CVT seek to assist, by maximising the opportunities of the excellent site at Taurus Craft.
As you will by now have appreciated I am not acting in isolation and thus, by publicising the issue and concerns on the internet I am seeking to increase the feedback I receive to gain the maximum awareness. Also my wife and I have had several house guests in the last couple of weeks and several appointments with Consultants regarding health!
Ms. Arkless I take the liberty of assuming your colleagues have drawn your attention to the Web Site:
where I have published the details of the conversation to date, I would rather hope they have or it would express a staggering disinterest, on their part, in the wellbeing of both Taurus Craft and CVT itself. Particularly as I am well aware from feedback that the matter has been a relatively popular topic of conversation!
In the light of feedback to date I rather regret that I have not had a single negative summary or negative comment. On the contrary I have had very clear agreement from many, the general comment would seem to be that they would not wish it to be known they had commented, due to their position as working in various capacities for CVT or as clients or customers in one way or another, be that directly or indirectly – however NOT ONE has disagreed and almost unanimously they have wished me luck as they feel I have said nothing that is incorrect; all be it several admit they might not have phrased a comment as I have.
Most admit they, in their position, would not speak out – well they do say leadership is lonely 😉 I submit it is, very much for the reasons I have stated!
It is largely for these reasons I feel it would be both dishonest and inapropriate to withdraw or alter a single part of my submission to date.
You will no doubt appreciate that it is my opinion endorsed by various commentators that this issue is way more consequential than efforts by local management to seek to flannel their way out of their very clear ineptitude – one need only note the responses to me to date & the failure to make the major alterations that are needed and in fact even the minor ones!
it is for this reason that I totally disagree with your belief this does not concern the board of CVT; I believe that this wasting of opportunity and obvious discontent, noted by many, reflects badly on CVT not to mention the failure to maximise opportunities for what is after all a public charity, not a sinecure for job seekers & virtue signallers!
Yes I believe a meeting with Trustees, Directors & HR is appropriate – surely they have sufficient sense of responsibility to wish to maximise opportunities not just pass the buck. I also stand by my suggestion that this issue should be broadened not try to pretend it is just some vexatious individual with a complaint about service in the cafe!
Yes I believe there is a sound case for an extended committee contributing & long term commitment to maximising opportunities, representing tennants and staff alike and ensuring income from REGULAR & FREQUENT events can be accrued for CVT & constant improvements.
and reconsider your position – this has little to do with the cafe despite your transparent efforts at damage limitation!
I look forward to meeting with your Trustee, Directors & HR.
Soon would be a good idea & rapidly thereafter the setting up of an action committee to advance the organisation & essential improvements needed for the benefit of the charity – I am sure it has not evaded peoples perspicacity, this conversation started on Trip Advisor in April it would be a shame to waste the entire summer!
Nothing of consequence has yet changed – not a soul with a name and job title on display, though I note a few Tea Shirts have been printed to identify staff, which some wear! Nor has a single collection box materialised and sinage regarding the aims has not become more apparent.
Interestingly I was talking with a business owner who lives in Lydney and is a regular visitor to Taurus Craft, yet they were completely unaware of CVT’s activities and did not realise the role of the sometimes ‘rather odd’ (their words not mine) staff.

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

 

 

RESPONSE RECEIVED 08-Jun-2018

Taurus Crafts
Annabel Arkless <annabel.arkless@cvt.org.uk>

Today, 16:52Greg Lance-Watkins

Dear Mr Lance-Watkins

Thank you for your response. It is heartening to read of your commitment to supporting the team at Taurus Crafts.

Unfortunately, your actions come across as less than supportive. You talk of wishing to help our social enterprise but refuse to meet with the local management and me. The stream of negative articles posted on your website about the café team and the wider CVT management team also come across as an attempt to shame, rather than support.

It is my privilege, as fundraising director, to meet those who are supportive of our charity, whether this is through donations, in-kind support, volunteering or our friends who simply wish us well. Their kindness and generosity shines through.

I see on your website that you’ve campaigned on a wide range of issues: there are indeed many injustices in our world that justify such action. The quality of service at Taurus Crafts and the management of the centre is not, however, one of them.

Our team of disabled and non-disabled people at Taurus Crafts will – from time to time – make mistakes. If this irritates you, as it clearly appears to, please don’t feel the need to visit.

I’d like to thank you for your input, which will be acted upon, and confirm that we now consider this matter closed.

Yours sincerely

Annabel Arkless

Fundraising Director

Direct Line: 07377 871007

Office: 01287 661284

E-mail: annabel.arkless@cvt.org.uk

Fundraising Office, Botton Village, Danby, Whitby, YO21 2NJ

As is the spirit of this conversation I have posted this correspondence on the internet to ensure transparency and solicit feedback – to ensure that there is both an opportunity for feedback and to ensure no one is under any misaprehensions.

As I cautioned at the very outset it was my opinion and that of others that management would resort to a CYA position and it was clear there would be efforts tosidestep the issues, minimise my concerns and as Ms. Arkless showed in her previous response, seek to control the issue whereby there was a pretence that my wide range of comments were nothing more than a vexatious member of the public complaining about the cafe – when clearly that waqs not the case.

 

It would seem that now we have an individual within the management in Yorkshire, seeking to claim my purpose is to be negative and thus by inference destructive, this seemingly being a method by which to ‘sidestep’ the issues.

 

You will note no consequential meeting has been held and no consequential changes been either made or notified – there have been several instances which to me would seem to be instances of bullying/intimidation of staff even going so far as to find a member of the supported staff being cross examined, in a manner which concerned them sufficiently that they told me of it – I did not wish to increase their ‘concern’ so I thanked them answered their direct question and changed the subject however I gather they qwere called over by a member of the support staff and asked, in front of the manageress if I had given a member of staff a lift after work.

 

 

For the record, firstly: what staff do in their own time is absolutely no business of the manageress
and secondly: I have given numerous members of staff a lift when I am leaving at the same time as they are.

 

I was amused at Ms. Arkless’ transparent effort to minimise the issues I have raised:

I see on your website that you’ve campaigned on a wide range of issues: there are indeed many injustices in our world that justify such action. The quality of service at Taurus Crafts and the management of the centre is not, however, one of them.

Yes I have indeed campaigned on a wide number of issues for over 50 years – seeking to right injustice and improve situations for others.

 

I totally disagree with Ms. Arkless’ contention that the management and conditions at Taurus Clrafts is not worthy of campaigning to improve – in that it is in fact a Publicly Registered Charity No.232402, I believe it is something of a duty to seek to campaign in its support. It is clear for the many reasons I have shown and which have been endorsed by others to act in just this manner relative to Taurus Crafts and CVT.

 

 

I also note the efforts to avoid confronting the issues with the comment:

Our team of disabled and non-disabled people at Taurus Crafts will – from time to time – make mistakes. If this irritates you, as it clearly appears to, please don’t feel the need to visit.

which reads to me as a deliberate effort to misrepresent the situation in an effort to try to avoid further efforts to improve the situation – you will note that I have NEVER claimed I found the situation irritating and it is clear that I have acted throughout to seek better outcomes for both CVT and Taurus Crafts. It may well prove easier to sweep the issue under the carpet were I not to visit this local amenity and short of ‘banning individuals’ who seek to support Taurus Crafts and CVT one would hope others would seek to help by making efforts to maximise on this excellent venue other than for their income!

 

I’d like to thank you for your input, which will be acted upon, and confirm that we now consider this matter closed.

As I raised the issues I feel it inadequate that those in charge of those very issues, ostensibly, consider  them to be closed!

 

It seems clear to me that CVT Trustees, Board Directors and HR should be particularly concerned at the fact that their operation at Taurus Crafts is so clearly under performing and now in this fourth letter is still seeking to avoid the issues and the suggestions to date.

 

I shall as usual be leaving this on the website to allow for further feedback prior to responding to Ms. Arkless’ communication but respond I will. Let us hope for a more constructive and professional a response in the future to ensure an improved outcome for CVT and the area as a result better exploiting the opportunities at Taurus Crafts.

Copies of parts of this website have been eMailed to:
CVT: trustoffice@cvt.org.uk
Taurus Craft: enquire@tauruscrafts.co.uk

they and other concerned individuals are well aware of this conversation
and of this web site.

Forest of Dean Review: revieweditor@theforestreview.co.uk
Other interested Parties.

DO PLEASE
remember to spread the URL
address of this posting:

https://gl-w.com/2018/05/05/camphill-village-trust-charity-taurus-craft-on-trip-advisor/

so that as many as possible get involved in trying to help CVT maximise the much neglected potential of the Taurus Craft site as possible.

Regards,
Greg_L-W.
~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~
.
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked

All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.

‘e’Mail Address: Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

Skype: GregL-W

TWITTER: @Greg_LW

DO MAKE USE of LINKS,
>SEARCH<
&
>Side Bars<
&
The Top Bar >PAGES<
I try to make every effort to NOT infringe copyrights in any commercial way & make all corrections of fact brought to my attention by an identifiable individual
.

Please Be Sure To
.Follow Greg_LW on Twitter.

Re-TWEET my Twitterings
https://twitter.com/Greg_LW

& Publicise

My MainWebSite & Blogs

To Spread The Facts World Wide


eMail:
Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

The BLOG:
https://InfoWebSiteUK.wordpress.com

The Main Web Site:
www.InfoWebSite.UK

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~

 

Advertisements