Beekeeping project creates a buzz at University of Gloucestershire

from our May 2014 Bulletin for members.  Picture: Paul Nicols

 GlosUni1A NEW building in Cheltenham will be a hive of learning – in more ways than one. The University of Gloucestershire has been given planning permission to build a beekeeping shed on its Francis Close Hall campus in St Paul’s. Their aim is to teach students, local community groups and schoolchildren about the need for a thriving bee population, and how to grow and maintain one.

The project has been led by first-year student Charlotte Powell. She said: “A specially adapted shed at Francis Close Hall campus will initially house three beehives. While most beekeepers choose to house their hives in the open, the shed will protect the hives, and the beekeepers, from the elements and will help see the bees through a tough winter.”

The scheme will set up a social enterprise which will sell hive products like honey and beeswax through the student’s union and local shops, as well as events to support the project and ensure its long-term sustainability.

Charlotte said: “Students and staff can get involved and the invitation is open to all disciplines within the university. It will give students an opportunity to learn new skills in business and beekeeping and provide an opportunity to build relationships with local businesses through marketing and bee-related events.”

A beekeeping society has been set up at the university, but it’s not only students who will be able to get a buzz from learning how to behave with a beehive. The project involves community and educational outreach. Presentations and workshops are being developed that will be used to show people all about the hobby, and how important to the food chain it is to have plenty of bees doing well.

Charlotte added: “There is always something new to learn in beekeeping and bees always seem to be one step ahead of the beekeeper, which is what makes the art so interesting. With this venture I hope to inspire a new respect for bees.”

The project has been funded by the NUS Students Green Fund, but is also attracting local sponsorship; Blood and Honey tattoo parlour in Winchcombe Street has agreed to design the artwork for merchandise to be sold to support the project.

For more information email UoGBees@outlook.com or follow the project on social media at facebook. com/UoGBees or @UoGBees on Twitter. 

Article by Aled Thomas of Gloucestershire Echo. aled.thomas@glosmedia.co.uk