HELEN BURTON: Beekeeping and Pevensey’s new volunteering group

Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001

Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001

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This week we started work clearing the site for Pevensey Apiary, part of the Incredible Edible Pevensey and Westham project. Five of us met on a cold Saturday morning and one of the hardest things was knowing where to start as the area is so overgrown that when we started it was impossible to see the edges of the site or the extent of it. We spent a couple of hours clearing part of it and actually it wasn’t as tricky as it first looked. When we were packing up to leave three of us decided to see if we could get to the back of the site and we fought our way through overgrown trees, shrubs and weeds to find a lovely woodland clearing which had obviously been tended at some point and there were some lovely primroses, daffodils and bluebells starting to show. It should make a lovely forest garden at some point.

Also this week I’ve completed two grant applications, one for the apiary and one for Pevensey Volunteers, my other pet project. The cuts to services over the next few years are likely to impact on the support available from adult social services and Pevensey Volunteers aims to make our Parish (and other communities that follow our model) more self-sustaining in support available by increasing volunteer time. In consulting local groups some of them are worried about how they can continue with an aging volunteer force and no new volunteers coming forward.

With no library facilities at the moment our rural community is at risk of isolation, so we have applied for funding to create a space in the Parish with publicly available computers and wifi access to provide opportunities for existing groups and projects to get online and also learn about social media and website management. We also hope that it will create opportunities for new projects locally such as Coffee Pot Computers who help senior citizens to get online or homework clubs etc. All of the new resources would be available on loan to any community groups locally as Pevensey Volunteers aims to support all voluntary sector organisations active in the Parish.

By providing shared resources, a social media forum, a web platform which will have information about all of the groups, arranging networking opportunities, training and meeting with NGO’s who may be able to start working in our community, Pevensey Volunteers aims to ensure that everyone has access to the support services they need and that it is sustainable and not dependant on outside funding. Although the project is very new we have begun to make an impact locally and there is already interest from other Parishes who we would like to help replicate the work we are doing.

Pevensey Volunteers is also arranging a monthly get-together for all Pevensey residents or outside organisations actively involved in volunteering in Pevensey starting on Monday 7th March at 7pm in the Bayside Diner. Hopefully by meeting up regularly we can support each other better.