Community Bees

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The bees Kersal Allotments It started off we were just chatting one day, me and Jack, about bees and the decline and that that was on the Television, and we said we’d like to keep bees. Well I thought not just us two, I’ll go around the site like we do and ask everybody who’d be interested in keeping bees. We ended up with a dozen interested in keeping bees.
Went to new Build for the Community, who had 52 Million pounds to spend over a 10 year period, but this was coming to the end of the 10 year period and they had money for what they called training. So they said they’d send one day, you know pay for us to go on training to keep bees and we said yeh. They sent us up to Heaton Park and we were trained how to keep bees and that and then we… I went to what they call a Climate change meeting were a guy from Brent Rose Forest called Peter Stringer was there and all these what I call Topdog kind of people and Peter just mentioned about the project we were trying to do down on Kersal Vale allotment “which is an apiary, and for those of you that don’t know what and apiary is “ he said “Harry form Kersal Vale allotments is about to tell you” and I thought thanks a lot Peter for putting me right on the spot because I didn’t like speaking in front of people but I just stood up and started spieling as much as I could about this apiary that we are trying to do. We are trying to build it like a composted area kind of thing, our ambition, so its walls made of railway sleepers just on the pretence if it was to turn pear-shaped the bee project, the bees were to die, we’d have a composting area you know so its ticking all the boxes. The more and more I spieled they said, “yeh we’re… you’re going to get funding.”

We had the North of England bee inspector around called Ian Molyneux to ask him if we are building in the right place, you know we didn’t want it in place A when if should be in place B (laughs) forget the pun, forgive the pun kind of thing. He said yeh it will be idea there like and it was.
We ended up with all this funding and as you can see what we build down there is absolutely amazing. The next time the bee inspector came down he actually fetched us our bees. You can get two kinds of honey bee, you can get friendly honey bees or aggressive honey bees and we asked him cause we like a bit of a crack and a joke down the allotment “as us coming from Salford any chance of us having some with a bit of attitude like” so he said “sure I’ll fetch you some bees with attitude”
Anyway, he fetched us the bees, now this is the north of England bee inspector and he came and he said “can I have a look round first Harry” because when he came it was a shit tip and when he came back all this work had been done and his words were it’s the finest apiary he’d ever seen you know, made use really really proud like.
Anyway so he fetched the bees and we set up the one hive and now this is 3 years down the line and now we’ve 6 hives up and running. We’ve got probably in excess, I don’t know, 500,000 bees I suppose and what we’ve set up because we interact with the community, we’ve got suits down there that will fit anybody from a granny to a granddad down to a little toddler like kind of thing. So anybody who is interested can come down on a Saturday, weather permitting, during the summer months when we go into the bee hive and can get them all suited up so they are fully protected and they can come in and get some hands on experience of keeping bees and we don’t charge anything because anything we’ve had has been through funding out of the community so we just want to give back to the community.

One of the things we have set up down here is a solar powered wireless webcam and its just, at the moment its just a camera looking down at the apiary but what it does is it beams a picture to the local primary school, Lower Kersal primary school, which is about I don’t know, about 500 yards away for the apiary so that the kids can actually see whats going on like outside the apiaries when the bees are flying about. But our ambition is to get a camera inside the hive and at the moment we’ve got Salford University, a young lad from there who’s doing a bit of a project actually filming the bees, but he doesn’t know if its possible to get a camera inside. But we are just thinking with the BBC moving to Salford, and they like to interact with the community, if we can find out who’s strings, the right strings to pull, and get somebody down there with the expertise, maybe David Attenborough you know some small geezer like that, you know “this is how you do it lads” (laughs) maybe stick a camera in so the kids can see then hopefully because we’ve got the connection with the school there get it on the internet so that people can see worldwide what we are doing down here.

Its great we really enjoy it, you know the bee are helping the environment and at the end of the day we are getting the by-product off the bees, which is the honey, and what we do then, we don’t sell it, we ask for donations for it and the money goes back into the project itself. Not a single one of us on here make a penny out of it, we just do it for the love of it and it’s going from strength to strength.