Hive of activity creates a buzz

A BEEKEEPING project has been able to expand thanks to an £8,000 boost from the Big Lottery Fund.

The Hive of Activity Project was set up at Stanwick Lakes in 2010 and has expanded its operation using the cash which was awarded from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards For All programme.

The project, which is run by the Rockingham Forest Trust, has been able to double the number of hives in its apiary, buy new equipment including more bee suits, install decking to protect the apiary – as it is on a flood plain – and hold taster sessions for people interested in beekeeping using the money.

Ranger and beekeeper Geoff Watton said following on from the taster sessions, the project had built up a big enough team of volunteers to keep the apiary running.

He said: “We had two taster sessions, we wanted about 10 volunteers and we seem to have got that. We had five bee hives and with the lottery money we have been able to extend that to 10 hives.

“We are so grateful for the decking, we got that installed about six weeks ago and since then we have had such poor weather.”

Representatives from the Big Lottery Fund and Corby and East Northamptonshire MP Louise Mensch visited the project to look at the difference the cash had made yesterday.

Mr Watton said Mrs Mensch had been impressed and had even donned a bee suit and gone into a hive to have a look at the bees.

He said there were plans to sell honey from the bees in the shop at Stanwick Lakes and to look at the possibility of having groups of school children visit the apiary in the future.

Mr Watton said: “This is a constant learning curve. Bees are a fantastic insect, you can never stop learning about them, they have so many habits.”