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Camelia Botnar Photo

Our Story

The Camelia Botnar Foundation was established in 1979 by Octav Botnar and his wife Marcela in memory of their only child, Camelia, who was killed in a car accident at the age of 20.

Octav Botnar was a highly successful entrepreneur whose commercial skills were legendary in the motor trade. He was a great, although discreet, philanthropist and made donations of millions to charities during his lifetime.

He died in 1998 at the age of 84, leaving the Camelia Botnar Foundation as his enduring legacy to helping young people in difficulty.

Octav Botnar

The Camelia Botnar Foundation provides residential training and work experience, helping young people to learn a skilled trade, embark on a useful career path and successfully make their own way in life. The Foundation has established a residential educational training work experience complex in a spacious country estate at Cowfold, West Sussex.  Training and work experience is offered in a wide range disciplines.

The Foundation invites applications from anywhere in the UK. Potential trainees can be either male or female, but must be aged between 16 and 21 and have left full time schooling.

Camelia Botnar Estate About

Applicants should be in a disadvantaged or problematic situation. They may be referred to the Foundation by their probation officers, social services, YOT workers, schools, organisations that help young people in difficulty, or a direct approach from relatives, guardians or the applicants themselves. Whatever the referral, each application must be voluntary.

No previous experience in a particular craft or skill is needed, and no academic requirements are imposed. Previous difficulties at school, at home, or with the authorities will not necessarily prejudice an admission. Each applicant is considered on his or her own merit.

The Foundation welcomes applications from anyone who meets the basic entry criteria and who has a real and positive commitment to learning a skilled trade and to changing the pattern of their life for the better and for good.

Camelia Botnar Metalwork Department 20a

The overriding requirements are that trainees are seriously committed to learning their chosen trade, are prepared to adapt to the work ethic, and that they observe basic standards of behaviour. Also, candidates must be physically capable of doing a full day’s work experience/training.  

The Foundation aims to offer life changing opportunities to young people, giving them a second chance to succeed, providing them with work experience and training to enter trades and the wider employment market.

* Please note, the Camelia Botnar Foundation is not a specialist mental health or SEN facility. Young people who come to the Camelia Botnar Foundation will need to be able to work and learn in small groups and not require one to one supervision or specialist intervention.

Sounds like something you are interested in?

If you feel that this offers a fantastic opportunity for you or someone you care for then explore our departments and complete an application form to register your interest.