Hitchin Bee Centre news by Robin Dartington

Work has continued through the summer on constructing the Bee Centre – the lawn, fence and bee shed. Choosing to make the Shed from planks, rather than buying ready-made, was brave – it has produced a building exactly as needed but nailing up under site conditions has been laborious. Still, almost there now. Expenditure on materials to date has been £1,450 – the final cost after installing 8 hives will be a bit over £3,000. That is my limit for investment in this scheme as a ‘social entrepreneur / non-profit developer’ – so continuing the plan to develop a Meeting Room/Exhibition, Community Bee Garden and Bee Plant Nursery will depend on obtaining grants in advance. The new association will also have to get support to buy out the facilities already created for the Bee Centre or be burdened by debt, with consequent need to be more ‘commercial’ in its operations than originally intended.

Obtaining guide prices for the major grant application to be made at end September must start in earnest. Work will include: tree surgery; earth moving; water supply; supply/erection of log cabin (Meeting Room/Exhibition); Exhibition design/install; design/build of garden; design/build of horticultural area (Plant Nursery).

Jif Smart, a Hitchin-based gardener, has been identified to design, build and later maintain the garden. John Cliff, a Hitchin-based Horticultural Therapist, will design the Plant Nursery – and hopefully use it later for a project with disadvantaged people. Gillian Sentinella will advise on design of the Exhibition – she was involved when Beds BKA invested over £2,000 a couple of years ago in creating a Bee Gallery at Stockwood Park Luton - soon to close when the Museum is upgraded to a Discovery Centre (incorporating a new Bee Gallery) with a £6m Lottery grant.

There was no response to the invitation in July ‘Herts Bees’ to join in pre-design research, or to suggest additional sites worth visiting, so the group continues on its own.

Peter Bracey caught working on the Bee Shed

Some strong colonies finally did well in 2007 – Robin Dartington’s best

No comments: