Shenstone wins Bee Friendly award

World Bee Day can only mean one thing – it’s time to reveal the newest Bee Friendly Awards winners.

Following on from the success of our inaugural Bee Friendly Awards last year, we are pleased to welcome a further eight winners to the Bee Friendly network, now including community groups as well as towns and villages.

The Bee Friendly winners for 2023 are:

  • Boyton Place, Suffolk
  • Elmstead Woods Station Garden Club, Kent
  • Frome, Somerset
  • Haydon Bridge, Northumberland
  • Ingatestone Station, Essex
  • Thames Ditton, Surrey
  • Shenstone Parish, Staffordshire
  • Wivenhoe, Essex

Each winner was carefully selected for their pollinator-protecting efforts. From creating lavender beds on a station platform to sowing wildflowers within a church cemetery; from encouraging businesses to display floral hanging baskets to organising community tree planting; and from supporting guerrilla gardening to installing bug and bird boxes, the towns and groups not only showed their commitment to creating habitats for bees and myriad wildlife, but also engaged their community with child-friendly activities such as seed bomb making and bee ID trails.

In addition to Bee Friendly status, all of the winners receive a Bee Friendly Award, designed by Steve Chapman, plus wildflower seeds to distribute and the opportunity to enter for an additional Bee Friendly prize in the form of £300 to commission a commemorative piece of bee-themed artwork.

Think your town or community group has what it takes to receive Bee Friendly status? Or would you like to take steps now to be ready for next year’s awards? Visit the Bee Friendly Trust website to find out how to get involved.

Photo by Michael Sadgrove, Haydon Bridge, Northumberland

A Shout Out for our Partners and Volunteers

As a charity, the support of our partners and volunteers is vital in enabling us to continue creating wildlife spaces where bees and other pollinating insects can thrive.

Which is why we’d like to take the opportunity, this World Bee Day, to say a huge thank you to the businesses, community groups and individuals who provide sponsorship or fundraise for the Bee Friendly Trust; raise awareness; and allow us to create and maintain our station-based nature habitats.

Some of the support we’ve received so far, this year:

Burt’s Bees. To mark World Bee Day, the bee-loving skincare company has generously donated £50 each on behalf of 100 of its key followers to help us expand our educational reach.

Bloom & Wild. Through sales of seasonal letterbox flowers via its Instagram channel, the British online florist has donated more than £800 to our station projects this quarter alone.

Mary Hughes. Homemade lavender bags, local honey and a tabletop sale outside her home in Kent raised more than £300 for the Bee Friendly Trust – and brought a community together over a shared mission to save the country’s bees!

Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail. Thanks to grant funding, a nettle-covered space at Wrabness Station in Essex was cleared and transformed into the Wrabness Station Wildlife Garden, complete with bee-friendly planters, a wildflower meadow, bug hotels, sculptures and a pond.

Anonymous. Our favourite type of post! A delivery of knitted bees (pictured) – from an anonymous sender. Each bee we receive helps raise money for the Trust via our online shop and at events.

Bee Friendly Trust x National Trust

This World Bee Day, we’re excited to reveal details of our latest campaign, The Bee Friendly Skep Project.

For those wondering, a skep is a traditional form of beehive, typically made from wicker or straw. Because of the nature of their fabric, they would historically have been stored in places known as bee boles, bee alcoves, bee houses and bee shelters. Many of which lie neglected and forgotten around the UK.

To raise awareness of skeps and bee shelters, and to celebrate them for the important role they’ve played (and play) in the nation’s beekeeping story, we will be launching a programme of events this month to run throughout 2023, and culminating in an exhibition of celebrity-designed skeps in 2024.

The events, which include appearances from the Bee Friendly Trust’s popular troupe of Waggle Dancers, will quite fittingly take place at the National Trust’s Attingham Park in Shropshire, which is the proud owner of the fine Georgian Bee Shelter, pictured above.

With bee populations still needing our support, we hope that through The Bee Friendly Skep Project, we can start fresh conversations around the importance of bees and the need to create spaces to protect and nurture them.