Avondale beekeepers buzzing after bonus donation

July 7, 2015 | Community News

A Lanarkshire community group project dedicated to managing beehives is set to receive a crucial £1,386 grant from Banks Community Fund.

Avondale Community Beekeepers successfully applied for a community grant which will be allocated towards the extensive planting of special bee enticing wildflowers near to its 20 active hives, dotted in and around Stonehouse and Strathaven.

The project originated 18 months ago when father-of-five and doting grandfather, David Paterson, 56, from Strathaven, decided to keep bees in his garden. Neighbours soon joined in and following initial funding from the National Lottery the group is now 30-strong, with active involvement from local schools.

David said: “The beehives have become a real talking point in the local area and a great example of what is possible when a community comes together for a worthy and holistic cause.

“Following great support from local schools, we now have 10 schoolchildren from four year olds upwards helping to manage the hives and the project has proven to be highly educational and rewarding for those involved.

“Wildflowers are in seriously high demand amongst the beekeepers and all involved are desperate to get their hands on seeds – they are crucial for the hives to survive and flourish, so this grant will be very well received.”

The confirmation of the grant was made in the week following an act of vandalism which threatened to destroy three hives, each containing around three thousand bees.

David added: “Quite selflessly, one of our volunteers scooped all of the bees up from the ground after discovering one of the vandalised hives. His actions saved that hive.

“After understanding that we would need to raise money to rebuild from this setback, three of our little helpers, Amy, Kate and Lucy clubbed together to offer £1.80 of their weekly pocket money – such is the love that the kids have for their bees.”

The group has since been able to save one of the other two vandalised hives, however the last hive and its population of bees will be lost.

Banks Community Fund is a charitable fund set up by the Banks Group, the Hamilton-based property and renewable energy business, which can be used for everything from church hall repairs to community garden schemes while charities, youth groups and voluntary organisations are also urged to apply.

The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of both operational and proposed Banks Group projects.  Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

Siobhan Samson, community engagement co-ordinator at Banks Group, said: “It is clear how much this project means to the local community following recent events and I am delighted they have been able to access the Banks Community Fund.

“We work extensively with local communities at all of our wind farm proposals. We hope to create lasting improvements that are beneficial to locals in and around South Lanarkshire, providing them with a better quality of community life.

“The beekeepers are a fantastic example of this and we hope their wildflowers help the hives thrive and begin to pay themselves.”

In May 2014 Banks Renewables had plans approved for its 26 turbine Kype Muir Wind Farm situated five kilometres south of Strathaven. As part of its Connect2Renewables partnership with South Lanarkshire Council and neighbouring communities, a percentage of revenue generated will be allocated to the community.

Connect 2 Renewables raises the bar in respect of its commitment to local delivery. It aims to ensure the benefits of wind farm projects are maximised and will help to reignite the local economy, as well as delivering a host of improvements and opportunities for local residents.

Along with creating new employment, training and education opportunities for local people, Banks Renewables is committed to giving opportunities for local contractors to get involved in the construction of its wind farms – a commitment that has been supported and welcomed by South Lanarkshire Council.

In addition to providing green energy, Banks Renewables strives to provide communities that host its wind farms with benefits that will make a meaningful, positive and lasting difference to the lives of those living closest to the sites – such as the support granted to Avondale Community Beekeepers.

To learn more about Kype Muir Wind Farm a project that will bring much needed jobs, investment and carbon free electricity to South Lanarkshire, please register for updates at: http://www.banksgroup.co.uk/contact-us/kype-muir/

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