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Sussex Life: The Plight of Sussex Honeybee

Worthing Honey Collective have been featured in a very interesting article in this months edition of Sussex Life Magazine. Words: By Katie Scott.

" From a soggy summer, use of pesticides to climate change, Sussex bees have been struggling to survive – luckily Sussex entrepreneurs are battling to save them and ensure they thrive"

....'Some Sussex pioneers are creating havens for bees but in a way that helps all pollinator populations. The South Downs National Park Trust is helping farmers, private landowners, parish councils, local authorities and schools with land to get access to up to £5000 in funding to plant bursts of wildflowers. Bee Lines, which was launched in 2019, has already raised £75,000 and with it eight havens - around 50 hectares - will be created including at Lancing College, Truleigh Hill near Brighton and Lewes Cemetery.  

In Brooklands Park, Worthing, a disused council yard has now become a home to hives but also a place where children can see the bees in action. Bees&Seas is being run by the Worthing Honey Collective, which has an apiary of five hives at Worthing Leisure Centre.  

Celine Shabbas Murphy is one of the directors of We Are Food Pioneers, the social community project behind the apiaries, and says education is as key as conservation. ‘Recently, we were able to offer a beekeeping course to six local children,’ she says, adding they are hoping to offer more training in the future including running after-school and holiday clubs'....

 

CLICK TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE (PAGE 2) 

 


Bees Needs Awards Champions

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have awarded us the ‘Bees Needs Awards Champions 2021’ in recognition of the exceptional work we have done to help pollinators thrive. We are exceptionally proud to have received  this plaque in celebration of our hard work this last few years.

The UK’s 1,500 species of pollinators play such a crucial role in all our lives, helping flowers, fruit trees and crops to grow, and contributing around half a billion pounds a year to UK agriculture.

Our transformation of the derelict site at Brooklands, expansion of the Worthing Honey Collective Honeybee footprint, the summer Bees&Seas event, various workshops and junior beekeeping course have contributed to us winning this award.

Defra are very keen to ensure that ‘we all’ act now to ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations. We are currently rebranding to ‘Pollinator Pioneers’ with a refreshed focus on nature.

Our mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and community projects.

It is inspirational to know that pollinators are a priority for this government. They are taking action - alongside many partners - to implement the National Pollinator Strategy, raising awareness across society. Our ongoing action and plans is aimed to inspire others to learn more about the importance of pollinators, and hopefully encourage the local community to take their own steps to help pollinators thrive.

We are incredibly grateful to all our partners, funders, hardworking and loyal volunteers and beekeepers.


Press Release: New lease of (wild)life for We Are FoodPioneers C.I.C

Dear Community. Please accept our sincerest apologies for the lack of communication on our social channels. We have been undergoing a re-structure, and have been very busy behind the scenes. Please see below for our official press release:

With our natural environment in crisis, pollinators in decline and many social issues intensifying post pandemic, a diverse group of individuals have come together to run a renowned and unique social enterprise, to benefit people and wildlife across Worthing. The aim is to revive the transformation of an accessible nature hub for the local community, at Brooklands Park. Supported by the Worthing Honey Collective, The Bees & Seas Apiary (excluded from the local council’s masterplan) creates a unique ecological link between the sea and the South Downs and will inspire the local community to work together to expand the local pollinator footprint.

Over the last six years Debs Butler and Company Directors have built an aspirational community company to support groups living in food poverty, strengthen local ecosystems and connect community. Louise Coles, Lisa Craik and Celine Murphy have now taken over this legacy to continue the remarkable work and develop the ‘FoodPioneers’ vision into the next six years and beyond. All three directors have been heavily engaged in CIC operations to date and bring a wealth of diverse and transferable capability and passion. Ambitious plans are afoot for pollinator growth, apiary development and local conservation projects across our blue and green space.

FoodPioneers have built an enthusiastic, skilled, and dedicated group of local volunteers over the years. Celine, Lisa and Louise are currently working on a strategy to best support ‘Bees & Seas’ and the ‘Worthing Honey Collective’ ensuring the local FoodPioneer community thrives well into the future.

The new team are very passionate about connecting, supporting, and educating local communities to champion nature and pollinators, and are determined to help make Worthing town a more vibrant, diverse, and supportive place to live.

Debs, who is moving to Scotland to fulfil a lifelong dream, states “It’s been an incredible 6 years and I’m so very proud of what has been achieved. Thank you to all our friends and funders for their continued support and I’m delighted to be passing the baton on to three incredible women who bring passion, drive and a wealth of expertise and experience.’’ Debs will be sorely missed, and the community wish her luck, love, and good fortune on her new adventure.

The directors will soon share their plans for 2022 and beyond, please watch this space for further updates on the next chapter for We Are FoodPioneers. This sounds like an inspiring movement to become a part of!

 


Bees and Seas | Free Family Fun Summer Event

We are celebrating ‘National Bee day’ with a series of FREE family fun events this summer!

We Are FoodPioneers CIC, Friends of Brooklands Park and Creative Waves CIC, have been working together this year to create a community beekeeping project and educational training space in Brooklands Park.

Our mission is to help engage the local community with pollinators through a series of collaborative activities, events, workshops and volunteering opportunities. As you will have read, we have been working hard to transform this industrial site into a natural asset for the community! The Worthing Honey Collective have been very busy preparing our Honey Bees for onward delivery to the Brooklands Apiary.

None of this would have been possible without the vital funding, grants, sponsorships and donations received!  We are very grateful to the South Downs National Park Trust, Postcode Local Trust, the Sussex Transport team, Rampion Fund Sussex Community Foundation, Worthing Community Chest and Worthing and Sompting Lions for their incredibly generous donations.

We are hosting a series of FREE family fun activities, shows, talks and stalls at Brooklands Park from Friday 20th August through to Sunday 22nd August. The theme this year is building back better for bees: focusing on actions for restoring, supporting and enhancing the role of these important little pollinators.

Click here for the full programme schedule. Please come and join us to celebrate 'all things pollinator' for ‘National Bee Day’.

 


Bees and Seas Project Flying

 

We thought it was about time we updated all our followers on our progress at the new Bees and Seas site at Brooklands Park...

As you may have read earlier this year, our main project sponsor, Sussex Transport replaced two old damaged shipping containers with brand new containers - one will be used for our teaching space and classroom, the other for our apiary and bee-keeping equipment. The difference this has made to the site is unbelievable! The wonderful park rangers at Adur and Worthing Council cleared the site of heavy rubbish in April. Another big milestone reached. In April and May the 'Friends of Brooklands Park' volunteers carried out some heavy digging, planting and wild flower seed sewing. This has really started to visually impact the site. The transformation has well and truly began.

And we are super pleased to report that things have not slowed down this last six weeks:

  • The Bees: The wonderful Worthing Honey Collective have been super busy this season. We have seven hives and growing...Queen Agatha's lovely calm hive was split last month for onwards travel to the Brooklands Apiary. Our second colony of bees has been purchased from Paynes farm, also bound for the new apiary. We currently have over 20 name suggestions for our new Queen Bee!. The winner will be picked during our summer festival.
  • The Bee Hive: Huge thanks to the children at Herons Dale Primary for their commendable creative efforts in designing the latest beehive for our new bees. We are very confident they will love their new home. Head over to our Facebook and Instagram page to view the lovely pictures. 
  • Planters, Boats and Creating Space: The fabulous Friends at Brooklands Park (FOB) have been working closely with the park rangers to transform the space. Our volunteers have been working hard. A beautiful boat has been placed at the entrance, and planters have been built and filled. B&Q donated lots of lovely bedding plants to the FOB and these have been used across the site to improve bee forage for our little pollinators. The rangers have been clearing paths and creating space for people to walk around the site. Thank you to the community for continuing to donate seeds, plugs and plants.
  • Fencing and Colour: Our project partner Creative Waves worked all weekend recently - installing a fence from recycled materials to enclose the teaching space. We are so very excited about Nadia and Nessy's creative design...They have been painting and decorating the containers in preparation for the big unveil. We know these two will add the wow factor to our Pollination Hub. Updates to follow next month...
  • Operation Bee Safe: Another of our business sponsors, CEO of Priavo Security, conducted a thorough site security audit and presented some comprehensive recommendations in a report last month. All in preparation for the bee's arrival. Friends of Brooklands Project Manager, Lisa Craik, is working closely with the park rangers to enhance security at the compound. Our lovely friends at New View Homes very kindly donated a skip to help us clear rubbish and safety hazards from the compound this last few weeks.
  • Funding: We are incredibly grateful to our funders for the recent donations that have been received. Every amount has been allocated to a project goal, allowing us to transform the site at Brooklands for local people and wildlife.  This additional funding, has allowed us to plan a series of family fun activities at our Bees and Seas event in August. In celebration of World Bee day of course...
  • Promoting Progress: A big thank you to the team at Inside Magazine for promoting our project to the wider community across six different locations and 40,000 households in our Worthing town. A fantastic publication full of sustainability projects, ecological progress and exciting community updates in our local area.
  • Wild Bees Arrive: In other exciting news 'wild bees' have made their new home in our log hive which was installed at Breathing Spaces Farm in Sompting in April. The team at Breathing Farm Flowers will be organising walks from the Bees and Seas Festival to this Downland site in August, so you can discover how wild bees live!

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates throughout the summer. A full Bees and Seas Festival programme will be published on this blog over the few weeks.  See you there folks.


Bees&Seas | Thank you Funders and Sponsors

 

As you may know 'Bees&Seas' is a local project born from a common passion for wildlife and 'connecting' communities with nature across the land and sea. We are working in equal partnership and collaboration with two other amazing community social enterprises: the Friends of Brooklands Park and Creative Waves CIC.

Our mission is to help educate, engage and connect the local Worthing community with nature, conservation and pollinators through a series of collaborative activities, workshops, volunteering opportunities and projects that cater to the evolving needs of the local environment around us. And to this end, we have already achieved a huge amount. Connecting and engaging with groups of like minded local volunteers; all passionate about the environment, their community and strengthening pollinators through beekeeping and expansion of our green space.

None of this would have been at all possible without the vital funding received throughout the year:

The South Downs National Park Trust in partnership with South Downs National Park Authority very generously donated a significant sum early on in the project which enabled us to kickstart the build of the site. We also very gratefully received an award from the Postcode Local Trust and much ongoing funding and support from Adur & Worthing Council. This has all really helped to bring this project to life.

The Sussex Community Foundation recently awarded us a phenomenal £5,000 'Rampion Fund' enabling us to run a very exciting programme of 'family fun' activities and events this summer for the local community. Please watch this space as the programme will be published next month and will run over three days in August: 20th, 21st and 22nd. Naturally, it has been planned to celebrate National Bee Day.

Just last month Sussex Police very generously donated £500 towards project 'Bees&Seas'. This will greatly help us prepare the new site and our bees in time for our big event in August. We are so very grateful to Ian for coordinating this. One of our beekeepers in training, Ian put us forward for this much needed grant.

Lancing and Sompting Lions have just confirmed this week that they are very kindly donating £1,000 toward out children's beekeeping children course. This money will allow us to run a fully qualified bee keeping course for young people - with each child receiving a recognised bee qualification. We are incredibly excited about this latest news. If these young beekeeping courses are a success, we will use this initial pilot as a road map for supporting and funding further mentoring sessions for young people in the future.

All of this is in addition to a whole host of amazing business sponsors who have worked hard and donated generously to the development of our new eco pollinator hub.

Debs Butler, Director at We Are FoodPioneers is delighted with the support the Bees&Seas project has already attracted: “We can’t thank local business and the wider community enough for the ‘in kind’ and ‘financial’ contributions that have been pledged to this fantastic project which will see the site at Brooklands Park transformed for local people and wildlife''.


Worthing Honey Collective | Spinning Out The Honey

Last night a few of us 'trainee' volunteers completed a practise 'honey spinning' session with the more experienced beekeepers. We are incredibly grateful to the team at Field Place for loaning their commercial kitchen facility to the Worthing Honey Collective for this honey extraction training session. Huge excitement for all involved...

  • Firstly, we uncapped the honeycomb scraping the wax cap layer off with a knife
  • Care was taken to ensure we didn't cut too deeply into the honey comb
  • Next, the honeycomb frames were placed into the baskets within the large metal drum extractor
  • Spinning the honey takes quite a bit of work! You have to build up momentum using the handle to spin out the honey
  • The honey then fell down into the bottom of the drum and filled up slowly as we spun through the frames
  • We filtered this through a fine sieve to remove the wax, debris and other lumpy bits
  • A refractometer was then used to check the water content of the honey and make sure it was viable
  • Next, we leave it for 24 hours for the air bubbles to move to the top. And VOILA, we have honey

We worked through 20 frames learning this process in preparation for the BIG honey extraction later this season.

In many cases if the comb is preserved, the frames can be returned to the bees to re-use. The wax caps can be melted down, cooled off and used in lip balms and many other products. Last year, in addition to our honey pots, we made our own Worthing honey chocolate and 'sting film' bees wax! Please watch this space for updates on forthcoming honey bee products. Great care is always taken to leave enough honey our amazing bees and all proceeds go directly back into the community.


Worthing Honey Collective: Bee Inspection Updates

We are well into the season now and there has been lots of wonderful progress since our last update. It has been an exceptionally busy time for the hives at Worthing Leisure Centre Apiary and, most notably, for our Worthing Honey Collective beekeepers. Excited to report that our beekeeping community has increased in size and we have a new team of 'beekeepers in training' on the weekly rota.

So. On to our Quirky Queenies :

Queen Agatha. Affectionately known as Aggie, a queen in her prime - now 3 years old - and her colony growing strong. I personally inspected Queen A this morning and the entire hive is thriving, with plenty of stores, brood and visible honey. A very active hive with a nice temperament. Clearly plenty of foraging and pollen collection happening.  A few practise cups now visible on weekly inspections. Not long now until we add another super. This hive will be split is due course for onwards travel to our new Brooklands Park Apiary.

Queen Flo The Second:  This hive was recently moved from 'King Bee Keeper' Tony's garden into our Air Bee and Bee site. We are delighted to report that Queen Florence's Daughter is thriving and her hive growing strong. A calm hive with plenty of pollen, brood and stores recently recorded.

Queen Beeyonce: A lovely active colony of queen, drones, workers and house bees. You can really feel the heat from this busy hive. Then one becomes two. Ahead of the game - our Queen B was split just last week. House bees and brood were separated from the Queen and flying bees. Both are coping well with the transition. In a short space of time the brood hive has grown 2 very nice looking large capped queen cells. If we can obtain a viable queen from one of these, she will be moved to Queen Latifa's colony...

Queen Victoria: Part of the furniture now, 3 years old and going strong. We have recently reintroduced Queen V back into her colony - after a stint with her daughter did not work out. The hive is strong and growing with ample brood on show. Stores were low this week though so we topped her up with sugar solution to keep them going.  Beekeeper Neils suspects that Queen V's colony are affected by the colder season and late spring, reducing flower forage and bee activity.

Queen Broodica: We noticed our lovely queen was failing and have been keeping a close eye on her. Something which is very difficult when it has been cold and wet outside. We separated our Queen from her hive and installed one of the Beeyonce frames and bees. When this did not work we installed one of Aggies frames and bees. Then we prayed. We are very happy to report that in just one week we inspected active bees, visible brood and two well formed queen cups. A huge sigh of relief. Queen Broodica is currently residing elsewhere on site with a large dollop of fondant to see if we can revive her.

Queen Latifa: This queen and her colony are definitely more 'assertive' in temperament. There is a different pitch to the buzzing, a higher energy and power to the colony. The experienced beekeepers have therefore decided to remove the queen and re-queen with a calmer leader to manage the future temperament of the colony - possibly with a new queen from the Beeyonce split. This hive seems incredibly intent on making a new queen in their Queens absence. We squashed a further 10 queen cups and 6 queen cells with larvae this week. Lots of honey, stores, dark and heavy frames and brood -  we even witnessed the birth of a baby bee recently.

Queen Nameless: Liz 'Our Bee Boss Lady' purchased a new nuc of bees and a rather 'plump' queen from Paynes farm - also bound for the new Apiary. These are 'temporarily' housed in one of our beekeepers gardens. We took time to settle them before they were transferred to their new hive home. These Brookland bees have started to build quickly, drawing out all the foundation frames within short space of time.  We are currently running a 'Name the Queen' competition on our social channels. Suggestions welcome in the comments below.

We are lucky to have procured some bees at this time due to a lockdown surge in beekeeping popularity!

As you can see each queen has a different temperament and character and, therefore each hive a different dynamic. A study by entomologists at the University of Illinois demonstrated that bees have distinct 'personalities'. Researchers found that some bees show a stronger willingness or desire to seek adventure. Interesting that this trait is not just limited to humans and other vertebrates. We can certainly feel this when conducting our weekly bee inspections.

Please watch this space for further updates: we are committed to running workshops and events at the new Apiary, now that restrictions are easing. We are all passionate about educating future generations and the local community on the vital role of pollinators within our food chain.


Batch Deliver 1,000 Hot Meals to Vulnerable In The Community

Huge appreciation to the Original Curryland team for a bumper Batch cooking day today. 

We have reached a momentous milestone this week! 1,000 freshly cooked hot meals from 8 fabulously generous local restaurants. Volunteers have distributed all of these meals to various shelters and organisations across Worthing, helping vulnerable people in our community.  Our Food Operating Officer 'Jules Engelsman' managed the second 'lockdown' phase of this long standing Batch project and wishes to extend a momentous thank you to the following restaurants:
  • Original Curryland
  • The Fish Factory
  • Salsa Viva Cantina
  • Curry Zone Goring
  • Coast Cafe
  • The Fat Greek Taverna
  • Casa Ciro
  • Marine Garden Cafe

If you, or someone you know, would like receive our meals please do get in contact so that we can help. Equally, If you would like to support BATCH or become a volunteer - click: Be a FoodPioneer 


Wildflower Appeal: Seeds Needed for Worthing Bees

Renovations are powering ahead at Brooklands Park and volunteers have been working around the clock to transform this ‘once disused council yard’ into an ecological natural asset for the local community. We are very excited to report that our community beekeeping and pollination hub in the heart of the park is coming together.

We are on track for setting up three beehives at the site and we have been prioritising one crucially important task: planting the entire area with bee friendly plants and flowers. Creating forage for pollination is one of the most important biological processes on the planet, as pollination fertilises and produces the next generation of plants including the fruit and crops that we all eat. Additionally, and so importantly, increasing the green space around us is combating climate change as plants and soil absorb carbon emissions from the air.

Adur and Worthing Council have kindly donated 28 plug trays and four 50L bags of peat compost alongside sachets of 'much needed' meadow seed. The local community have also generously donated a good variety of bee forage but as we have such a large area to cover with the good green stuff – we still need your help! If you have any of the following plants lying spare in your gardens and can pot them up for us to plant that would be amazing. There are some obvious and some quite obscure requests on our list but every little truly helps our Worthing bees.  If you have anything you can spare, please contact us by clicking this link.

  • Native cowslips / Native primroses / Autumn flowering ivy
  • A variety of types of mint, thyme and lavender
  • Lemon balm / Marjoram / Rosemary / Hyssop / Feverfew
  • Chamomile / Hops / Heartsease/field pansy / Chicory
  • A non invasive / native honeysuckle
  • Teasel / Heather / Evening primrose / Woad / Sea aster
  • Sea spinach / Sea kale / Thrift / Vipers bugloss / Birds foot trefoil
  • Kidney vetch / Tufted vetch / Bush vetch / Yellow horned poppy / Sea campion
  • Biting stonecrop / Wild thyme / Wild marjoram / Moon carrot / Small scabious
  • Hoary plantain / Agrimony / Burnet saxifrage / Horseshoe vetch / Common mouse ear
  • Common Centaury / Ladies bedstraw / Dog rose

As always your help, commitment and generosity is very much appreciated. In the end we are all working together, towards making our beautiful Worthing town a more vibrant, ecological, supportive and diverse place to live.....