Trainee keepers prove the bees knees

A buzz has been in the air in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park this summer as trainees have been trying to prove they are the bees knees.

A bee keeping project, run by Urban Bees, has seen 20 wannabe keepers being trained in the art to prepare them to take on responsibility for their own hives.

The scheme began in April this year, with trainees now coming towards the halfway stage as their bees prepare for a quiet winter in their hives.

The opportunity came about through Urban Bees, with the Co-operative funding five hives and equipment for training, and Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park organising space to be allocated for the facilities.

Alison Benjamin, co-founder of Urban Bees, has been instrumental in bringing the hives to the park. She said: “We’re very keen to train new bee keepers in urban areas, and to encourage more people to keep bees.

“We’ve had a range of people from different ages and backgrounds. It’s a way for people to re-connect with nature. A lot of people are into the idea of growing their own food, and producing honey is an extension of that trend.”

By April next year, the 20 people who signed up to take part in the programme will be fully fledged beekeepers ready to take on responsibility for the hives themselves, with funding promised for five more hives in the borough for the most committed trainees.

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Kenneth Greenway, of Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, explained why the group was so keen to get involved in the project and make it happen in the borough.

“We just thought it would be a really nice and interesting thing to do, and in May next year we can link with more people in Tower Hamlets”, he said.