Thanks for taking an interest in our community bee project in Ealing, and welcome to the first project update. See also our community bee blog for up to date blogs.
As some of you will know, in January we applied to Capital Bee, part of Capital Growth for funding for a community bee project. The Capital Bee project is part of the Capital Growth scheme, which aims to help create 2,012 new community food growing spaces by the end of 2012. We have just recently had notification that our application was successful, which is great news, and now are starting to plan the project.
Funding: Capital Bee provides training for one beekeeper, and some basic equipment and bees, which gives us a great start. However, we want to train additional beekeepers, and will need to purchase additional equipment, including suits, and an additional hive for swarm management (and ideally so we would have one ‘observation hive’ with glass panels that allow some of the workings of the hive to be seen without opening the hive). We propose to fund these additional costs through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme, and the costing that we did for our application indicated that we might need 30 ‘shares’ at £10 each per year . We already have over 30 people who have expressed an interest.
Timing: As it is important that we know what we are doing before we are responsible for a colony of bees, the structure of the Capital Bee project is that 2011 is spent in training, with our bees arriving around March 2012. Because we will not start incurring costs until around the end of 2011, we will not get our CSA scheme up and running until later this year, however we will continue to keep you up to date with what we are doing throughout the year. This gives us some time to finalise the costs, and also the mechanics of how such a scheme would work – in fact one of the training sessions is on CSA schemes, which will be run by Bungay Transition, who have run a CSA community bee project over the last couple of years, and I’m sure will provide some great insights. In the meantime, we have been planning our community garden for 2011, and are including lots of bee friendly plants so that the bees in the borough will enjoy our garden, even if they are not our bees!
Training: Although Capital Bee provides formal training for one person, we have also talked to Ealing and District Beekeepers Association, who have an apiary on the corner of Argyle Road and Perivale Lane (nearest tube is Perivale on Central line). We plan on visiting the apiary over the course of the 2011 bee season (spring, summer and autumn) for those who are interested in becoming beekeepers, so that we can get practical experience and talk to other beekeepers in the borough. These will probably be on Saturday afternoons. A number of you have already expressed an interest in being actively involved in the project as a beekeeper, and we will send more information to those of you once we have details on when these sessions will be.
Updates: Check out our Beekeeping category for posts on our progress.