Poplar charity pleas for donations to help save urban bees

PUBLISHED: 12:30 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:48 30 November 2018

Hema Kano (left) with a fellow beekeeper. Picture: Lemar Francis

Hema Kano (left) with a fellow beekeeper. Picture: Lemar Francis


A Limehouse charity led by young people wants to raise £42,500 to help save the city’s bees.

Young people after completing their beekeeping course. Picture: Fatima UddinYoung people after completing their beekeeping course. Picture: Fatima Uddin

Leaders in Community wants to add more hives to an apiary on a converted tennis court in Poplar and run beginners bee keeping courses for youngsters.

Trainee bee keeper, Hema Kano, said: “We’re experiencing a decline in the urban bee population. It’s important to engage young people in their community about the environment.

“The project will really help young people come together around the issues.”

Pollinating insect numbers are generally accepted as being in decline with honeybees threatened by neglect, disease and the varroa destructor mite, according to the Royal Horticultural Society.

Beekeeping at Greening Brownfield Community Garden. Picture: Emerson UtracikBeekeeping at Greening Brownfield Community Garden. Picture: Emerson Utracik

So far the charity – which is led by young people – has raised £25,000 from 121 backers. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has pledged a further £20,000 to the project if the fundraisers hit the £43k target by December 17.

But if they don’t reach it, they won’t get the extra cash.

Hema, who works at housing association Poplar HARCA, has already benefited from the scheme set up two years ago. She is now working towards official bee keeper status.

“A lot of people think of bees stinging, but they contribute a lot to our environment by pollinating flowers which helps the fruit that we eat grow. They’re quite independent really. They don’t sting unless they are under threat,” Hema said.

Honey from the bees. Picture: Emerson UtracikHoney from the bees. Picture: Emerson Utracik

The 26-year-old who lives in Baxter Road, Ilford, added that working with bees can benefit people by getting them outdoors, learning new skills and raising their confidence.

There are two hives at the Greening Brownfield Community Garden site in St Leonard’s Road but the charity wants to add more.

It also wants to cultivate the apiary garden, build a storage hut, produce honey-flavoured chocolate and get more specialist equipment.

Hema said the project’s organisers want to expand after almost 30 youngsters took part in courses over the past two years.

“Hopefully, we can get a few more people, but it’s down to our resources, which is where the crowdfunding will really help,” she added.

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