Workbridge team welcome 30,000 honey bees!

The 250 people with mental illness, learning disabilities or brain injuries who access Workbridge every week will soon have a new skill to learn: beekeeping.

Workbridge – a vocational centre in Northampton which provides people with the opportunity to gain both technical skills and life skills –  has just taken delivery of 30,000 honey bees. As the hive grows, service users will be able to get involved with honey extraction, jarring and labelling of honey. In addition, individuals will be able to get them involved caring for the bees, which will lead to a qualification.

Trudy Neale, Specialist Horticultural Technical Instructor, explained: “Bees are fascinating, I have been interested in bees and bee keeping for many years and I feel so excited and privileged to be able to bring bees to Workbridge.”

“Old Castle Farm Hives were very generous with shipping the equipment free of charge to us. It’s been hard work getting everything organised and approved, but there has already been expressions of interest from service users in getting involved with caring for the bees.“

As the hive grows, there will also be opportunities for individuals to be involved in the honey harvesting and jarring the honey, which will be on sale in the Workbridge coffee shop.

Trudy explained: “The honey can help those suffering from hay fever, due to the small amounts of pollen local to this area being within the honey. The honey will be cold pressed meaning that none of the essential enzymes are lost. Bees are essential to the ecosystem; without them crops would not be pollinated and eventually we would run out of food, so it is wonderful to do our bit to support bees and other pollinators.”

The next step is to let the hive get on with what they do best, creating more cells on the fresh wax foundation for the queen to lay more eggs. The queen will lay approximately 2,000 eggs a day. At present there is approximately 30,000 bees in the hive but numbers should reach around 60,000 by about mid-July. Regular weekly inspections will ensure that the bees have enough food to make the cells for the queen, and once the rest of the frames in the brood box are full, the bees will start to store honey.

To find out more about the vocational opportunities available at Workbridge, visit their website.