Beekeeping A-Team in place to preserve honeybees in Wales

Honey BeeA new team are in place in Wales with the task of raising awareness of the threat to honeybees’ existence and the devastating impact their demise could have on people around the world.

Colin Keyse, Lucy O’Donnell and Holly Pinkney have been recruited to run the National Beekeeping Centre Wales (NBCW), a groundbreaking project featuring a unique visitor centre within Conwy’s new Bodnant Welsh Food development. The three will play a lead role in the project’s ambitions; encouraging bee sustainability through beekeeping, habitat preservation and development, and education through schools, community groups, and visitors and the public via the interpretation centre, apiary and education facility, which is due to open in July.

As project manager, Colin will ensure the initiative remains sustainable beyond its funding period and becomes a centre of excellence for promoting, supporting and enhancing beekeeping in Wales. Previously involved with several Welsh enterprises focusing on the environment and sustainability, a desire to work closer to his Bethesda home prompted Colin to apply for the NBCW position. “This is a really interesting role and challenge and I hope my previous experience will benefit such a worthwhile project,” he said.

“Our aim is to make people more aware of the threats to bee colonies, pollination, and what this means to us. It’s a high-level issue we can’t ignore. As well as a shop window for beekeeping matters, we will work with community groups, education, businesses and high quality food producers on developing environmental sustainability, within which bees and other pollinators play such a critical role.”

In addition to contributing to sustainable local food production, it is estimated that through pollination, bees increase crop and fruit yields by up to 20 per cent. In economic terms, this could be worth as much as £200m to the UK economy every year.

The honeybee faces a series of threats, however, and colonies are being decimated. Without the work of commercial and amateur beekeepers, their survival is in jeopardy.

The NBCW interpretation centre aims to attract more than 25,000 visitors a year. Once open in July, the project will also feature a “hands-on” apiary with training courses and support for important beekeeping research. Supporting the project is a new bee-friendly garden at Ty Hyll and an education centre at Henfaes Research Farm, a Bangor University facility at Abergwyngregyn.

Operated through a non-profit-making Community Interest Company, all income is invested back into scheme.

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