It may seem surprising that 20th century European history has a lasting effect on Malton’s community in 2022, but the town’s Croft Community is very much a part of the town and owes its existence to events of the 1930s.

Today, it provides a home for adults with learning and physical disabilities, making a direct contribution to society through the Kingfisher café it operates in Saville Street, in addition to other activities.

But Croft Community is one of nine in the country operated by Camphill Village Trust, which came into existence through the work of Austrian Dr Karl Koenig, whose interest in researching the effect of disabilities put him at odds with the emerging Nazi regime in the inter-war years, resulting in him fleeing to London.

His continued work resulted in the formation of CVT from Aberdeen, where he made his home, and Croft Community is part of that organisation, opening in Malton during 1974. It is one of nine similar communities around the country, with North Yorkshire hosting a second, at Botton.

Today, it provides a home for 37 adults, most living in houses on the main community site with others living in supported accommodation elsewhere in the town.

Staff provide support for the main community, with colleagues available to assist those in assisted-living accommodation.

In addition to the Kingfisher café, residents tend the four-and-a-half-acre grounds, growing produce that they use and cultivating apples and pears that are used to make juice.

A workshop on site is used for woodworking, knitting and several other crafts, producing gift type goods which are either sold – Croft’s hand-dipped candles attract customers from as far away as Scotland – directly or through the café.

Sue Parsons, assistant carer support manager, said: “Croft Community members are involved in every aspect of the Kingfisher café, from cooking to front of house.

“A lot of our ladies and gentlemen go out shopping for the café; we try to keep our produce local and source it from local shops.

“It is about getting people into meaningful activities and employment. They can go off and do things independently of the group.”

Mark Patience, also an assistant carer support manager, said their woodworking was a recent addition to activities: “It has proved really popular, it is something which has not been done before. We have a couple of avid French polishers.”

Croft Community residents are involved in other elements of Malton life. That may involve taking part in activities at a care home or assisting with the maintenance of formal gardens out in the wider community.

Croft Community’s textile room is a hub for the craft skills-based activities, which generate the gift items sold through the café, and numbers taking part are swelled from the 37 residents by day visitors who also join in.

Residents have become a familiar component of Malton’s society and were welcomed by others in the wider community for the contribution they make, said Mrs Parsons.